crowded shopping mall

“The mall” attracts flocks of customers young and old to one sprawling, often crowded location for a centralized experience of shopping, dining, and entertainment. What could go wrong? Sure the mall is fun, but it’s also loaded with variables around every turn that have the potential to cause injuries related to slipping and falling on the premises. These unfortunate situations also raise many legal questions concerning the various commercial parties who may be responsible when visitors are seriously hurt.

The Salamati Law Firm helps those who have have slipped or tripped and fallen in shopping centers, malls, movie complexes, and sustained a serious injury. We have a passion for helping negligence victims across the state of California get back on their feet and recover damages for their ordeal.

Who is liable for injuries sustained in a shopping mall?

California imposes a duty on  property owners to take reasonable steps to make the premises safe for those who enter it. This usually means keeping the property in safe condition and warning of dangers that the owner or occupier actually does know about or reasonably should know about. Failing to do either of these may create liability for resulting injuries.

When it comes to shopping malls, and similar locations like strip malls, entertainment complexes, and open air shopping centers, there are often several individuals or businesses that have a duty to keep the premises safe, including:

  • The property owners
  • Retailers who lease space
  • Property management companies
  • Companies responsible for maintenance and repair

Your personal injury lawyer will review the facts to determine whether any of these, or even another party, may be liable for injury.

Proving liability for slip and fall injuries

The injured customer needs to be able to identify that the defendant failed to take reasonable steps to make the premises safe or warn of a defect. This could mean showing that the defendant placed the hazard or even failed to perform the inspections that would have prevented an accident. For example, if mall security cameras prove that a spilled beverage sat on the floor for several hours but no employees inspected the area or cleaned the spill, the mall could be liable when someone slips on it.

Not all slips and falls in a shopping center mean the businesses are liable.Say your fall was caused by a clumsy fellow customer – the property owner or occupier likely is not liable (though the customer might be). If your own negligence was partly to blame for the fall, you may still pursue a claim against the property owner for their breach of duty but any award may be reduced in proportion to your own fault. All of these arguments have the potential to be hotly contested all the way up through trial.

Evidence to gather after falling on mall property

It is important to gather credible testimony and documentation of the condition that caused the fall and how or why it existed. You will also need evidence of losses caused by the injury.

Gather these items and share them with your attorney:

  • Photographs of the scene – take photos or videos with your phone
  • Contact information of any witnesses – independent witnesses are best!
  • Related medical bills, including summaries or discharge papers linking the injuries to the fall
  • Documentation of lost wages and other losses

Your attorney will help gather additional evidence, such as:

  • Security videos or records of security guards at the shopping center
  • Agreements between the shopping venue owner, lessee, and/or maintenance companies
  • Manuals and employee training documents
  • Testimony of any necessary expert witnesses

Common types of slips and falls in shopping centers

Places we often see slips and falls in shopping venues include:

  • Food courts and concession stands where spills may occur
  • Entrances due to customers tracking in wet weather and other hazards onto a slick floor
  • Escalators and/or elevators that are not well maintained or managed by security
  • Public restrooms
  • Any areas showing poor maintenance such as chipped tiles, snagged carpets, leaky pipes, litter and general disrepair

Potential damage awards for victims of negligence

To recover damages for injuries and consequential losses, the plaintiff needs to be prepared to prove both the liability on the part of the defendant(s) as well as the value of the losses themselves. Attorney Sean Salamati works with expert witnesses and investigators to help clients prove each of these elements and establish their right to maximum compensation. Typical compensation depends on a variety of losses including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability

Time is limited to file a California slip and fall claim

In California, an injured party only has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. That may seem like a long time but many people try to wait until they are completely healed to file a claim and that can be disastrous. It may take much longer than two years to be fully healed and waiting beyond that point may render the claim invalid if your reason for delay is not covered by some exception to the rule.

Do not take unnecessary risks with your claim. Speak with Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer Sean Salamati to be sure you have all of the information you need to establish who is to blame for your fall and to receive full compensation to make you whole. We know the system and fight tirelessly for the rights of injury victims across California. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

Additional resources regarding slips, trips, and falls in the state of California:

  1. California Courts, Statute of Limitations, http://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm
  2. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions, Premises Liability – Essential Factual Elements http://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/1000.html