‘Tis the season for shopping. Whether you are shopping for your loved ones for the holidays, taking advantage of time off from work, or getting ready for your New Year’s Resolutions, if you are like the vast majority of Floridians, you will do some shopping this holiday season.
Unfortunately, the increased traffic on the roads and in the malls also means that there is an increased risk for accidents. While we don’t have to worry bad weather here in Palm Beach County, statistics show that vehicle collisions still peak during this time every year. But, car accidents aren’t the only injury risks facing shoppers. Here are five common shopping-related accidents that may entitle you to financial compensation.
Top Injury Risks While Shopping in Palm Beach County
1. Vehicle Collisions
Since we have already mentioned vehicle collisions, we’ll discuss these accidents first. In 2016, Palm Beach County saw almost 200 more accidents (nearly a 10% spike) in December than in any other month of the year. Whether this can be attributed to shopping traffic or not, it shows that shoppers need to be particularly wary of driving-related risks during the holiday season.
Why do auto accidents spike during the winter in Florida? Since we do not have to contend with snow, a likely candidate certainly seems to be increased congestion due to vacationers (who also tend to like to shop) and local holiday traffic.
Distracted driving may play a role in the high rate of winter car auto accidents in as well. Driving distractions – including texting and talking on the phone – play a role in hundreds of thousands of accidents across the United States each year. With drivers looking up directions and trying to connect with friends and family, distracted driving is a serious concern this time of year.
2. Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are an obvious – yet often overlooked – risk for holiday shoppers. In crowded parking lots and on busy Boca Raton streets, the risk of being hit by a car is greater than many people realize. The consequences of pedestrian accidents are often far greater than people realize as well, with many victims suffering brain, spine, and other traumatic injuries. This includes injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Herniated discs
- Organ damage
- Spinal fractures
After a pedestrian accident, ideally, the driver will stop and provide his or her insurance information. But, if you are injured in a hit-and-run, it may be necessary to rely on witness testimony or security camera footage to identify the driver who was at fault. In any case, pedestrian accident victims should seek medical attention promptly, and they should make plans to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
3. Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. For shoppers, slippery floors, uneven walking surfaces, torn carpeting, and overcrowding are just some of the issues that can lead to sudden and unexpected falls. Like car accidents and collisions involving pedestrians, these accidents often result in serious injuries that entail extensive medical treatment and prolonged pain and suffering.
Other common factors in slip, trip, and fall accidents include:
- Cracked, worn, and slippery steps
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Missing or loose handrails
- Spills and rainwater on floors
- Unmaintained sidewalks, roads, and boardwalks
Seeking compensation for accidents resulting from these and other issues typically involves filing a claim against the property owner. Under ‘s law of “premises liability,” businesses owe the highest duty of care to their customers. This means that they must not only fix any known safety hazards but also actively inspect their premises to ensure that customers are not unreasonably being placed in harm’s way.
4. Injuries from Falling Objects
When retailers stack the shelves for the holidays, the risk of an injury from a falling object can increase substantially. From concussions to eye injuries, falling objects can cause a variety of injuries with potentially-serious medical complications. If you are injured by a falling product, you should report the accident to store management as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to take photos of the shelves and the item that hit you, since any clear evidence of negligence is likely to disappear before you have the opportunity to conduct an investigation. Falling objects that can cause injuries include:
- Boxed items
- Hard plastic toys
- Fishing poles, baseball bats and other sharp or heavy objects
- Hand tools and power tools
- Plates, glasses, and other items that can break or shatter
5. Shopping Cart Accidents Involving Children
According to a 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics, tens of thousands of children are injured every year in shopping cart accidents. The vast majority of these children are under five years of age, and close to one in five shopping cart accidents result in hospitalization. Falls are the most common cause of injuries in these accidents, and nearly half of all hospitalizations are for broken bones.
If your child was injured in a shopping cart accident, it is important that you seek legal representation. Regardless of what exactly happened, you may be entitled to compensation, and your family may need this compensation to cover your child’s medical bills over the months – and perhaps years – to come. An accident involving your child should never be considered too “minor” to seek help, and we are happy to provide you with a free assessment of your family’s legal rights.
Our Trusted Personal Injury Lawyers in Boca Raton,
If you would like to speak with an attorney a slip-and-fall accident or other shopping-related accident in Palm Beach County, I encourage you to call me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally for a free consultation. To find out how our legal team can help you Demand More® for your injuries, please call 561.202.MORE(6673) now.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed personal injury attorney.