Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, and stores that carry a high volume of varying items present a risk for potentially dangerous conditions. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is all about comfort, but even a rogue pillow on the floor can cause serious injury. If you sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you may have a chance to recover the losses incurred because of your injuries.
Dangerous Conditions That May Cause a Slip and Fall at Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Property owners from private residences to public chain stores have a responsibility to maintain safe conditions within the bounds of the property line. Sometimes the standards of safety are not maintained properly and hazards appear. Some potentially dangerous conditions inside a Bed, Bath, and Beyond include:
- Snow, ice, and water accumulation in the parking lot and on the walkways outside of the store
- Heavy items falling from the high shelves that are characteristic of the store’s interior
- Unattended roof leaks that leave puddles of water on the floor
- Spilled liquids on the floors
- Cluttered aisles obstructing walking space
- Fallen blankets and pillows
- Low lighting in certain areas
- Leaking sinks or toilets in the bathroom
- Broken tiles, loose carpet, or worn rugs
- Stock cart left in the aisles
- Loose electrical cords
All of these conditions are avoidable and should be caught with routine safety monitoring. Whether or not an employee intended to hurt someone, neglecting to maintain reasonable safety conditions could result in liability for Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Potential Injuries Caused by a Slip and Fall
A slip and fall accident could result in injuries ranging from embarrassment to broken bones and head injury. The consequences can be physical, emotional, psychological, and financial, and medical treatment can be costly, especially if you do not have adequate health insurance coverage.
Some common injuries from slip and fall accidents include:
- Back and spinal cord injuries may include fractured vertebrae and herniated discs. Some can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Soft tissue injuries include anything from wrist and ankle sprains to torn tendons and ligaments that require surgical intervention.
- Broken bones in the hip, wrist, and ankle are common in slip and fall accidents. This is more prominent in seniors.
- Hip fractures are overwhelmingly caused by falls and routinely require surgery to correct.
- Cuts and abrasions to the arms and legs are common. They typically require only superficial treatment.
- Shoulder or neck injury occurs when the slip and fall victim attempts to catch himself or herself on the way down. These may result in dislocation, torn nerves, or breaks in the collarbone.
- Sprained ankles or wrists are more common injuries caused by stepping on an item on the floor or tripping over something.
- Knee damage includes tears to the ligaments or a dislocated patella.
Injuries that require surgery and have a long recovery period cause even more financial damage in the form of lost wages or loss of earning capacity. Severe injuries, such as damage to the spinal cord, that cause paralysis can result in significant mental anguish and distress as well.
The Role of Premises Liability
Bed, Bath, and Beyond is a retail store that is open to the public. This means that you are legally allowed on the premises during operating hours. Premises liability dictates that the property owner has a responsibility to keep the store safe while you are there. If you suffer an injury while on store property and decide to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses, you will have to prove the following:
- The negligence of the property owner or staff caused your injury.
- Your presence on the property was lawful, which is easy to prove in the case involving a public establishment.
- That the property owner or staff was aware of the dangerous condition and failed to repair it, use proper signage to warn customers, or partition it off with rope or cones.
In case of a slip and fall accident, notify the manager on duty immediately, take photos of the scene and the surrounding area, request a copy of an accident report, seek medical attention, and contact an attorney immediately while the details are fresh in your mind.
Applicable Slip and Fall Laws in New York
In any personal injury case, including slip and fall accidents, filing a lawsuit is not your only option. You can file a claim with the property owner’s insurer first. However, insurance companies tend to look out for the best interest of the company above all else. Some have even been known to participate in bad faith tactics such as refusing to communicate, denying your claim without a reason, refusing to investigate your claim, or undervaluing your claim, to name just a few.
When this happens, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit. In which case, there are two laws that could affect your case: the statute of limitations and comparative negligence.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a boundary on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an incident. In New York, the statute of limitations on a slip and fall accident is three from the date of the accident. The same three-year deadline applies to filing a lawsuit over any property damages as well. It is in your best interest to file as soon as possible and give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your case.
Comparative Negligence Rule
During the investigation of your incident, the property owner’s legal representation will look for signs that you are either all or partially responsible for the accident. If you retain partial responsibility, that does not relieve the other party from paying compensation for your losses.
The comparative negligence rule requires that a jury make two decisions involving your case: decide how much you should be awarded for damages incurred and what percentage of responsibility you hold for the accident. If you are not at all responsible, the property owner’s insurer must pay the full amount of the award. However, the comparative negligence rule dictates that if you are found any percentage responsible for the accident, that percentage is deducted from the awarded amount.
New York follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that in New York, you may receive compensation even if you are more responsible for the accident than the other party. For example, if the jury decides that you are 60% responsible for your injuries and awards you $20,000 in compensation, 60% is then deducted from the award. Therefore, $12,000 is removed, and you receive $8,000 in compensation. If your case does not make it to court, which is most common with personal injury cases, comparative negligence still plays a role in the settlement. The property owner’s insurer could still use the argument that you bear responsibility as a means to decrease the settlement amount.
What a Lawyer Can Do To Help You
Slip and fall accidents happen often and sometimes result in serious injuries. If you fell and suffered an injury at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you may not be responsible for the accident. Speak to an experienced New York slip and fall attorney at Cellino Law to see if you are eligible for compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We are available 24/7.