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Counsel That You Can Trust & Depend On


Guy DiMartino Oct. 19, 2013

This duty extends to wherever the company has control on the premises. However, in the state of Indiana, the duty also extends to criminal acts that might happen on the property.

If someone went to a shopping centre, got out of their car, and was mugged, then the shopping centre might be responsible for those injuries if the criminal act was foreseeable and the shopping centre knew or should have known criminal activity existed in the area. The law states that if a company knew or should have known, it would have a duty to protect their invitee and warn them of the potential danger.

Why Does Wal-Mart Have Security Moving Around The Parking Lot?

A lot of shopping centers will have rented cops driving around the parking lot. However, the key to many slip and fall cases is based on the fact of known, near crime. A crime grid must be pulled from the area in question to see what types of crimes existed in the area, to show if the actual shopping centre or store knew or should have known it was a high crime area.

What Can Stores Do To Protect Themselves?

Stores can have security patrols, proper lighting, and escorts to take customers out. However, this would depend on where the person lived and who the person was. A large person would be fine, for example, but a 5-foot, 100-pound woman would offer a different situation.

The circumstances must always be noted.

Imagine this: a nurse went to an all-night store at 1 o'clock in the morning because she just got out of the hospital and needed some groceries for her hungry child. If a store invites somebody who requires its services so late, like this small, say 100-pound nurse, then the store has a duty to make sure she is safe. Otherwise, they should not be open.

Where Does The Liability Extend To For Commercial Places?

Snow is different in the sense that timing really matters. If a store is in the middle of a snowstorm, for example, people can't reasonably expect the plough to be out immediately. However, if it had snowed all night in the parking lot and was not ploughed by the next day, then an argument would exist regarding negligence on behalf of the store.

Are There Any Good Case Studies?

A number of cases exist in which people fall over on parking stops and receive some severe injuries, broken hips, broken necks, broken skulls, and brain bleeds.

The problem with parking stop cases, from the injured person's side, is that one of the defenses in all these slip and fall or trip and fall cases is the doctrine called the “open and obvious doctrine.” Essentially, this doctrine states that the actual parking bumper was open. Anybody who was paying attention should have seen it.

In these cases, a person must determine where the cars were parked in relationship to the parking bumper. They must look at the lines of walking in or walking out to determine if there were problems with ingress and egress. Therefore, a lot of work has to be done engineering-wise.

Often, things are not up to code., A lot of times, parking bumpers will be found in places with propane tanks. If the parking bumpers are not uniform in the parking lot or if there is only one sporadic one, without parking bumpers anywhere else, then people might not realize the parking bumpers are there.

A number of cases have occurred in retail stores in which items have fallen from high shelves. Best Buy, the Home Depot, and Wal-Mart have a lot of their merchandize stacked up high. Sales associates linger on the other side of the store with forklifts, putting things on shelves and taking things off shelves. Sometimes, they actually push merchandize onto people.

Some people have had serious back injuries and serious neck injuries that require neck surgery. Shelving has fallen on people in Big Buck stores, as well.

Furthermore, a number of people have fallen and broken their legs, arms, and hips in parking lots when the lighting went out. They have fallen on either a parking stop bumper or a pothole. The lack of light disallowed them to see where they were going. .

Another case found that somebody was murdered in an apartment complex due to negligent security. In another case, someone was attacked in a subway subdivision and was severely injured. Someone was attacked in a bar, as well, and the security personnel at the bar did nothing.

Dozens of cases, especially in Florida, have been found in which older people have slipped on something slippery in a grocery store. This is because the floors are polished with a wax often, causing slipping and skating.

Whose Responsibility Would It Be If Someone Fell Into Another Person's Property?

Some cases allow the establishment to be responsible if the properties are pertinent or annexed to it.

For example, a restaurant will divert a person to park across the street if they have overflow parking. If something happened and a car hit somebody as he crossed the street, then certain claims would be allowed because the restaurant diverted their customers across the street.

These are complicated cases. The lawyer must investigate the facts. They speak to somebody who is hurt, take his facts, and see if they can find some theory of liability or some person or owner with responsibility for the client's injuries.

With regards to public property, a park would be a slightly different type of claim because this is a claim against the municipality or the government. As such, a person would have to deal with Tort immunity. Therefore, different notice requirements are necessary.

The park still has a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. In those cases, the timing is much shorter than normal. A person must give notice of the claim within 180 days to the Parks & Recreation Department. Otherwise, the claim will be lost forever.

For more information on Commercial Liability, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (219) 874-4878 today.