Target is one of the most popular shopping centers in the United States. It has 1,802 stores in the United States, with numerous stores in the Chicago area. Customers can purchase groceries, shop for household items, and have their prescriptions filled at Target.
Every year, customers slip and fall inside Target stores across the nation. Some are not injured, but others suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. How can stores like Target be held liable when their customers are injured?
There are three primary categories of visitors to a property: licensees, invitees, and trespassers.
Licensees have express or implied permission to enter a property. Licensees enter a property for their own purposes—for example, a meter reader enters a property to check a homeowner’s power meter to determine how much the homeowner’s power bill should be. Property owners must warn licensees about dangerous conditions that they are aware of and that the licensees are not likely to discover on their own. For example, a meter reader should be warned if a heavy gate to the property is broken and may fall.
Invitees also have express or implied permission to enter a property, but they are typically social guests, customers, or friends and neighbors. Property owners must keep their premises reasonably safe for invitees.
Trespassers are traditionally owed no duties by property owners. They do not have permission to enter a property.
The elements of a slip and fall claim
In every slip and fall claim, the victim must prove:
- The property owner had a duty to the victim;
- That duty was breached; and,
- Due to that breach, the victim was injured.
The duty, as discussed above, is the duty to keep a property safe for visitors. This duty is breached when a safety hazard is present on the property. If the property owner does not either 1) warn others of the hazard or 2) take measures to remove the hazard, the property owner may be liable if the victim is injured.
The victim must prove the extent of his or her injuries. If a shopper slips in a Target store but does not fall and suffer any injuries, then a slip and fall claim will not go forward because there are no real damages. However, if the victim falls and breaks an ankle, the victim will need to supply medical records, proof of lost wages, and other documents that support the claim. These documents will be examined by the victim’s attorneys and the property owner’s attorneys as they attempt to negotiate a settlement throughout the case. If they cannot agree on a settlement amount, the case will go to trial.
Our attorneys are experienced in slip and fall cases
At Stein & Shulman, our attorneys have represented clients in slip and fall claims of all shapes and sizes throughout our combined four decades of practice. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, call 312-422-0500.