Addison Mall is an outdoor shopping center located in Chicago. It is smaller than many shopping centers in Chicago, but it offers shoppers a variety of stores to choose from. What happens if you slip and fall while shopping at an outdoor shopping center? Which entity is liable for your injuries if you trip and fall outside?
The answer depends on where exactly on the property your injury occurred. In most shopping centers, stores lease space from the property owner. When you enter a store in an outdoor shopping mall, the space you are in is not actually owned by the store, but by the shopping center itself. Therefore, the shopping center’s owner has a duty to keep the premises safe and free from hazards. The property owner has a duty to regularly check the property to be sure no hazards are present. If hazards are discovered, the property owner must warn others of it. For example, placing a sign or caution tape around a spill would properly warn shoppers to stay away from the area.
If you were injured in a parking lot, however, the entity responsible for maintaining the parking lot would likely be responsible for your injuries. Often, the shopping center is responsible for maintaining its parking areas. If you tripped and fell in a pothole in the parking lot, for example, the shopping center is likely liable for your medical bills and other damages you suffer. Your odds of recovery increase significantly if the shopping center had notice of the pothole but failed to repair it.
What about the sidewalks outside of each individual store? Is each store liable for the sidewalk area outside of its doors? Again, since the owner of the outdoor mall owns the entire premises, it is likely that the owner will be responsible if a shopper is injured. However, depending on the individual scenario, the individual store may also be liable. For example, consider a situation in which a storeowner had a large rack of merchandise on display outside. A strong wind gust knocks the rack over. The store employees notice that the rack has fallen and has strewn merchandise all over the sidewalk. However, they fail to go outside and pick it up for a significant period of time. A shopper comes along and trips over a stray piece of merchandise and is injured. The owner of the shopping center may be able to argue that the storeowner actually created the hazard and should be held responsible for the incident.
Clearly, liability in these cases depends on the individual facts of the incident. A skilled slip and fall attorney is essential to maximizing recovery in these claims.
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At Stein & Shulman, our slip and fall attorneys have over forty years of combined experience in injury claims. We will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call 312-422-0506 or visit steinshulman.com.