Shopping malls are designed to accommodate a large population of people moving incrowds through stores, hallways and up stairs and elevators. With all of this activity, occasional accidents are bound to occur.
There are a variety of possible hazards that can endanger mall visitors, especially if the staff and management are not fulfilling their duty to keep the premises safe. 15% of injuries in malls and shopping centers are caused by slip and fall accidents. While they can be attributed to the patron simply losing their balance, these incidents can also be caused by:
• Loose or torn carpeting and rugs
• Broken or damaged floor tiles
• Items on the floor such as wires, boxes, or merchandise
• Uneven staircases
• Inadequate lighting
• Leaks and spills
• Failure to clear snow and ice from walkways
Other factors that can cause a shopping mall visitor to be injured include elevator or escalator accidents, falling merchandise and exposure to fire, toxic fumes or chemicals. Premise liability law requires owners and managers of a property to be held accountable for certain injuries sustained on their premises, if they could have been reasonably anticipated and prevented.
Negligent security is a special type of premise liability where a person is injured by a third party on another’s property. While shopping malls and other public spaces are often bustling with activity during the day, at night they can become an opportunistic place for criminals who recognize that both merchants and customers have cash, credit cards and merchandise available.
The owner of a mall is not responsible for protecting people from unanticipated criminal attacks. However, if the act can reasonably be anticipated, they may be liable. Inadequate lighting in hallways, stairwells and parking lots and lack of security guards or cameras can create an inviting target and put patrons at risk of robbery, physical or sexual assault and wrongful death. At shopping malls as well as hotels, night clubs and other public spaces, people have a legal right to be reasonably safe from foreseeable harm and criminal victimization.
Poor maintenance, inadequate security and other forms of negligence can turn a day of shopping into a temporary or permanent hardship. Owners and managers of all commercial property are legally required to recognize potential dangers to patrons and should take reasonable measures to control them. Failure to do so may be grounds for a negligence claim against the property owners.
At the law firm of Okun, Oddo & Babat, in Midtown Manhattan, our experienced personal injury trial lawyers represent seriously injured people and the families of those who have been injured or died in accidents caused by a property owners’ negligence.
Contact us or call us at 212.642.0950 today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable, respected premises liability attorney. You will not pay anything unless we win your case.
Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.