Even though most companies and large enterprises have a policy of emphasizing safety first on their business premises, preventable accidents still happen. Sometimes even the most careful workers and professionals still experience mishaps, and as a result leading to unsuspecting individuals suffering from injuries. Understaffing is the most common cause of this.
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common personal injury accidents to happen in public places, including grocery and department stores where a lot of people mill around to shop for products and merchandise. The most common incident is when some type of liquid is spilled and is not cleaned up until a customer slips and falls.
With numerous stores as part of their retail chain across America, Target is one of those companies which has received its fair share of lawsuits involving slip and fall accidents and injuries. Although, there tend to be more slip and fall lawsuits against Walmart.
What To Do When You Slip And Fall at a Business
- Take photos of the liquid you slipped on and of the surrounding area within the store.
- Report the fall immediately to a Target employee.
- Ask for a copy of the incident report.
- Get the medical treatment you need for your injuries.
Keep in mind that Target isn’t automatically liable for every slip and fall accident that occurs within their store premises. The customer who fell and got injured has to meet certain legal requirements to hold the company accountable.
To be able to hold Target legally liable, the customer has two main options for liability: Target (its employees) created the hidden danger, or Target should have known of the hidden danger, and did not repair/clean the hidden danger. If this first requirement is met, an injured Plaintiff then also must establish that Target’s negligence is the “direct and proximate cause” responsible for the injuries that the plaintiff suffered from the slip and fall.
Note that Target has a defense if the danger was “open and obvious.” For example, if an employee is mopping a small area of a shopping aisle, and a customer sees the wet floor sign, and the puddle of Gatorade, but chooses to walk through the spill, Target will most likely be excused from any liability.
Compare this to something like the freezers holding frozen drinks or fresh goods start leaking cold water onto the floor, which slowly but eventually forms into a puddle. Target has the responsibility to check their floors if there are any puddles of water or slippery portions. If a customer unknowingly walks through the puddle and falls and injures their shoulder, Target should be liable.
Reporting An Incident To Target
The first thing that you should do after a slip and fall or other similar accident happens to you or any of your loved ones, is to report the incident to the store manager. Take photos of the area where you fell. Be careful with your words when you’re dealing with the store manager or anyone else who is tasked by Target to handle the incident report. Being argumentative doesn’t help either.
Keep in mind that if your incident or accident injury claim can’t get settled, a lawsuit will need to be filed. The injured party will be the plaintiff, and Target will be on the other side as the defendant. As much as possible, just stick to the basic story and facts of what happened. Remember that Target’s store managers should be on the lookout for anything you might say that they’d be able to use to reverse your statements and oppose your claim.
Dealing With Store Management
After you’ve talked to the store manager of Target or anyone else that they task to handle your complaint, Target will be filing an Incident Report with their liability insurance provider. This incident report will most likely contain what you and the Target manager or employee talked about when you reported what happened to you. It also will likely contain statements from some of their store crew who might have seen what happened to you when you slipped. At the very least, it will include what the Target employee(s) observed after the injury.
It’s likely that Target’s Risk Department or their accident liability insurance provider will reach out to you a couple of days after they receive and read the Incident Report. At this point, the adjuster may tell you that a “recorded statement” is required, but it is not.
Do not agree to a settlement until you have finished treatment with your doctor. If you settle while you are still hurt, Target will be off the hook for any of the medical bills after you sign the settlement release. Insurance companies do not “pay as you go” for liability claims. It is a one-time settlement.
Give a Lawyer a Call if You Have Any Questions
You should consider talking to a lawyer as soon as you get home from a slip and fall accident at Target. You might think that it’s just a minor injury, or that the manager who talked to you was really nice. Most personal injuries offer free consultations, so even if you don’t think you have a serious injury, talking with a lawyer can help to make sure you are not missing anything important with your claim.
If You’re Hurt, Get Medical Treatment
One of the most crucial elements or aspects of your slip and fall injury claim against Target is whether and how you’ll be able to prove the extent of the injuries that you suffered due to the slip and fall accident.
If you are hurt from the slip and fall, you should go see your doctor as soon as possible immediately after the slip and fall accident occurs. This is important so that the medical tests done on you are as close to the date of the accident as possible. This helps document your claim, but more importantly gets you the medical treatment that you need.
It’s common for people to wait to go to the doctor as long as possible. Best case, the injury heals on it’s own. Worst case, the slip and fall victim waits to finally go to the doctor because they think the injury will heal, but is still having serious back pain 6 months after the fall. If this happens, the Target defense lawyers will likely argue that the injury probably happened in that 6 month time frame. This is called a “delay in treatment” defense. The simple advice is to go to the doctor if you are hurt. Going to a physician early on, depending on the injuries, will also like speed up your physical recovery, so you can get back to your normal routine and life.
If you have any legal questions, give us a call. We’re easy to talk to, and can give you an overview of the legal process and whether or not you have a viable case against Target.