Visitor Question

Fell in a pot hole in parking lot…

Submitted By: Linda (Dowagiac, MI)

I was pushing my shopping cart to the car when it hit a pot hole and threw me into the cart, knocking the wind out of me and hitting my right leg. When I got my senses back, I went back into the store to let them know of the problem.

While I was waiting for Management, I heard people talking that the same thing had happened about 2 hours earlier to a man. His son fell out of the cart and he reported it.

They did not put caution tape or any type of warning after his incident. If they would have marked the area, I would not have gotten hurt. This happened at a very large national chain retail store on September 17, 2014.

I called them today because my leg is still very painful, and I can’t get into my doctor, so I am going to a walk-in clinic. Since I did not go to the doctor right away, do I still have a valid personal injury claim? What else do I have to do to pursue my case against them? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Linda,

You are correct. The store should be liable for your injuries and resulting damages, including your medical and chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and an amount for your pain and suffering.

Stores have a “legal duty of care” to make their premises safe for their customers. The salient issue is the notice the store had. If the pothole was made within an hour or so before your injury, and the store didn’t have knowledge of it, then the store might not be liable, since they didn’t have reasonable notice of the existence of the pothole.

In your case, you overheard people stating a similar incident occurred about two hours ago to another customer and his child. As a result, the store had sufficient notice to “cure the defect”… repair the pothole, cordon it off, or otherwise make it known by placing a warning sign.

Fortunately, your injuries do not appear to be serious. Notify the store manager you were injured. If you haven’t already, take multiple photographs of the pothole showing it in context, especially if it’s difficult for a customer to see.

Get in to see your doctor as soon as possible. With each day, and each hour that passes, the store can claim your injuries occurred subsequent to the pothole incident. It’s also important for your doctor to note in your chart that you presented with injuries resulting from falling in a pothole on the store’s premises.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 22, 2014

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