Across the nation, shopping malls have replaced Main St. as the place where people go to shop, dine and even catch a movie. California is home to some of the most beautiful malls in the country. From the Grove to Fashion Island to Rodeo Drive, savvy shoppers seek designer clothes and accessories and just about everything else they desire. Shopping malls are often comprised of one or more large anchor stores along with smaller stores that can range in number from a dozen or so, to several hundred. It is the responsibility of the mall owners and businesses to maintain safe premises for their guests shopping experience.
The Shopping Mall Danger Zones
Elevators and escalators – In virtually every shopping mall there are escalators and elevators that transport shoppers from one floor to another. If poorly maintained, or operated improperly, these people movers can be a source of personal injuries. An escalator lacking in clear and proper stair and landing demarcation can create a fall hazard. If one person falls on a busy escalator, a serious pileup may result. An elevator that stops short of a floor creates a trip and fall hazard for exiting occupants. Both escalators and elevators, which are improperly maintained, may suddenly stop or speed up, leading to falls.
Slippery floors – Today’s shopping malls are constructed to be aesthetically appealing and also durable. Floors are often made of highly polished concrete or marble, which can become very slippery when wet. These areas are where the most common injuries occur. Slip and fall injuries are usually caused by wet surfaces from spills, cleaning or weather conditions. Wet areas should be cleaned up immediately, cordoned off, or marked with warning signs. Slip and fall injuries may involve broken bones, back sprains, head trauma, spinal injury, or they may be minor. There tends to be an increase in slip and fall accidents during busy shopping days like Black Friday.
Parking lots – Aside from pedestrian/car accidents, injuries in shopping mall parking lots may also be the result of violent crime. Rape, assault and robbery are not uncommon at shopping malls. These types of traumatic injuries often are not publicized to protect the reputation of the business. It is the responsibility of the mall owner to provide adequate parking lot lighting and other security measures to protect guests.
Liability in California Shopping Mall Accidents
Anyone injured in a California shopping mall accident can file a personal injury claim under California negligence law. It must be proven that the owner/occupier failed to exercise reasonable care in maintaining safe premises. For example, if a person is injured due to a malfunctioning escalator at the Grove in Los Angeles, there may be a legitimate claim for compensation.
Any person injured in a shopping mall should report the incident and seek immediate medical attention. Medical attention that is offered should never be refused, even if the injury seems minor at the time. Follow up visits are also highly recommended. Very often an injury is missed or misdiagnosed in the emergency room. The times and dates of all medical care is important. Insurance companies often try to dispute the time that a particular injury occurred. After the injury is treated, the injured party should seek the counsel of a premise liability attorney to evaluate their claim.
The experienced premise liability attorney will quickly subpoena any surveillance video that may have captured the episode prior to it being recorded over. The attorney will also determine if the negligence was on the part of the mall owner, the storeowner, the maintenance company, security agency or a combination.
To receive compensation the plaintiff in a shopping mall injury lawsuit must be able to prove the following elements:
- The property owner or possessor of property had knowledge of, or should have known about, a dangerous condition on their premises
- The owner or possessor failed to inspect or remedy the dangerous condition.
- That the plaintiff would not be injured had the dangerous condition not existed on the property.
- That there is a direct relation between the dangerous condition and the plaintiff’s injury.
- Those actual damages were the result of the injury.
The plaintiff may be able to file a cause of action against the shopping mall and/or retail store, or possibly a maintenance company or security agency, depending on where and when the injury occurred.
If you or a loved one were injured in a shopping mall accident or crime, call Vititoe Law Group Today for a free evaluation of your case. There is no cost to speak with an experienced premise liability attorney. Call 818-851-1886. No recovery – no fee.