Many Americans visit shopping malls weekly – some even daily – to buy new clothes or simply walk around and look at all these expensive and fashionable things displayed on storefronts. If you think nothing bad can happen to you while walking around in a shopping center, think again. In fact, thousands of Americans get hurt in shopping mall accidents each year, and more often than not, the owner of the shopping center or businesses that rent spaces in the mall can be held liable.
Can You Sue a Shopping Mall for Your Injury?
When it comes to filing a premises liability claim to recover damages after your shopping mall accident, much depends on the exact spot where you got injured. Our Pittsburgh premises liability attorney from SMT Legal explains that each store that rents a space in a shopping center is responsible for keeping its space clean, safe, and free of any hazards. The shopping center, meanwhile, has a duty to maintain all common areas – including but not limited to the walkways, elevators, escalators, and the parking lot – in a safe condition and ensure the safety of its customers in these common areas.
The Shopping Mall’s Liability for Injuries
“In fact, even in situations where another customer is responsible for your injury in a shopping mall, the mall owner may still be partially responsible for your injury,” says our experienced shopping mall accident attorney Pittsburgh. “For example, let’s say that another visitor, who is clearly intoxicated, bumps into you, and because the floor was wet and slippery you get injured in a slip and fall accident.”
While that intoxicated visitor will most likely be at-fault for causing the accident, you may be able to hold the shopping mall partially liable for your injury if you can prove that the floor was wet and slippery for an unreasonably long period of time, the mall’s workers knew about the wet floor but failed to clean it up in a timely manner, or the mall’s workers created the dangerous condition.
How To Determine Liability in Your Shopping Mall Accident?
Determining liability in a shopping mall accident is often too complicated, because multiple parties may be involved. Besides, most shopping centers in Pittsburgh are represented by some of the best defense lawyers in our state who will grasp at any straws to protect their clients from liability and deny your claim.
Under Pennsylvania’s premises liability law, owners of shopping malls as well as owners of businesses who rent spaces in shopping malls have a legal duty to maintain a safe environment for customers and visitors. Under premises liability law, shopping mall visitors are classified as “invitees” who comes onto a business’s property for their mutual benefit.
What Legal Duties Do Shopping Malls Have?
You may be able to hold a shopping mall or a retail store in a shopping center accountable for your injury as long as you can prove that it failed to:
- Eliminate all dangerous conditions from the sidewalk controlled and maintained by the shopping center (clean up snow and ice in a timely manner, etc.);
- Provide a safe environment for motorists and pedestrians in the parking lot (ensure adequate lighting, fix any potholes, cracks, or uneven pavement, etc.);
- Ensure that the stairways and walkways are safe, with adequate lighting, and free of any obstacles or hazardous conditions;
- Regularly inspect and maintain escalators and elevators;Regularly inspect the flooring and keep it free of any hazards such as the wet and slippery floor, uneven floor mats, etc.;
- Ensure that all merchandise and objects on shelves are properly arranged and secured to prevent the merchandise from falling on customers; and
- Provide adequate warnings of any hazardous conditions where necessary and where dangerous conditions are hidden and not obvious to a reasonable customer.
Neglecting any of these duties means that you can seek compensation from the shopping center or businesses renting spaces in the mall (depending on where the accident occurred) as long as your Pittsburgh shopping mall injury lawyer can prove that the shopping mall or individual business was negligent and that this negligence caused or contributed to your accident. If you were injured at a shopping mall, contact SMT Legal to find out your options.