Slips and falls may greet holiday shoppers

The holiday shopping season is about to start and retail stores are expecting more in-store shopping. The share of consumer-planned holiday shopping, after a long decline, went up this year for in-store shopping.  More shoppers mean more crowded store aisles and a higher risk for injuries.

Slips and falls

A retail store has practically unlimited opportunities for slips, trips and falls. Retailers can be liable for injuries in a premises liability lawsuit if they did not take reasonable measures to eliminate or warn about hazards that they knew or should have known about. Falls can cause head, neck, back and other injuries.

Shoppers may slip on wet floors, especially if the surface has inadequate traction. Uneven floor surfaces, dollies, cables, and cluttered store equipment and merchandise in aisles are tripping hazards. Parking lot speed bumps and poorly marked curbs pose tripping hazards outside.

The growing risk of slips, trips and falls is attributable to many factors. More shoppers are now returning to brick-and-mortar retail stores. Short staffing and high employee turnover in this labor market impede the prompt cleanup of spills and other hazards.

Shoppers miss hazards from being distracted by wall-mounted screens and more extravagant displays.

Slips, trips, and falls comprise 31 percent of losses incurred by retailers. This is higher than losses from motor vehicle accidents involving employees and work sprain and strain injuries. These are the second and third highest causes.

Best practices

Measures to reduce the possibility of these accidents include keeping aisles and other areas free of clutter. Mats and rugs must be secured on stairs and landings or removed.

Employees should immediately clean up spills immediately with floor cleaning products that reduce slipperiness. A tribometer device can help assess floor slipperiness.

Stores need to have proper lighting and signs. This is especially important in areas containing tripping hazards or where there was a spill. Signs must direct and warn shoppers where there are employees using step stools and ladders.

Victims of a slip, trip and fall accident may be entitled to compensation if a retailer did not exercise their duty of care and take measures to prevent these accidents. Attorneys can assist them with obtaining evidence and timely filing a personal injury lawsuit.

FindLaw Network