Customer accidents at stores such as retail shops, malls, restaurants, etc. occur quite often. Unsuspecting customers often sustain injuries in fall down accidents and other mishaps, such as an elevator or escalator accident. When severe injuries result, Pennsylvania accident and negligence law allows the injured customer to make a claim against the business and ultimately take the business to court, if necessary.
Store Accidents & Liability in PA – How Damages are Paid
People who are injured in stores, malls, restaurants, etc., are often surprised to learn that their injuries and damages will actually be paid by insurance companies. A business hardly ever pays or is ordered to pay the damages in a personal injury case. This is because virtually all stores and businesses purchase insurance policies to cover acts of negligence which lead to accidents and injuries to customers. These are known as “general liability” policies and in most store liability cases, such as a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, these insurance policies kick in and provide coverage up to the amount purchased.
Many stores purchase basic policies which provide up to $1,000,000 (one million) of coverage. In some situations, a business may purchase an umbrella or excess policy, which essentially operates as a second policy. Such umbrella or excess policies may provide up to $10,000,000 (ten million) or more in coverage.
Store Accidents & Liability in PA – Proof of Negligence is Key
The key in store accident lawsuits in Pennsylvania, like a fall down accident case, is sufficient proof of negligence or carelessness of the store’s employees. That is the premise of general liability policies. They only kick in when the insured (store/business) was negligent in the first place.
To illustrate: A grocery store shopper slips on water leaking from a refrigerator case. The individual suffers a fractured bone which requires surgery. He makes a claim against the grocery store. During the investigation, the store’s maintenance records show that for several weeks prior to the accident, the store’s management knew about the leaking refrigerator. However, on the day in question, management failed to clean up the water on the floor or put warning cones around the water. In this instance, the maintenance records provide clear evidence of the grocery’s store’s negligence.
Therefore, the store’s insurance company will be required to step in and pay for the store’s negligence, again, up to the amount of liability coverage on the policy.
Obtaining evidence of the defect is very important, especially for transient conditions, such as water or food on the floor. In addition, in some cases, an accident reconstruction may be necessary, if economically feasible. For instance, a biomechanical expert may need to conduct an analysis of how the defect caused the accident.
Related store accident articles:
- Department Store Liability for Slip and Falls in Philadelphia, PA
- How to Tell if You Have a Valid Slip, Trip or Fall Case
- Proving Notice of a Dangerous Slip and Fall Condition Like a Puddle
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