Is a Store Liable if a Customer Gets Injured in Ohio?

is a store liable for a customer injury

As customers, we generally assume that when we step into a retail store, we’ll be able to shop in a safe environment free from hazardous conditions that could lead to injuries. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case – slippery floors, cluttered aisles, poor lighting, and other hazards can easily cause accidents resulting in serious harm.

In Ohio, retail stores and other commercial property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for customers and visitors. When owners fail to uphold this duty through negligence, and a customer gets injured as a result, the store can be held liable for those injuries under the state’s premises liability laws.

At The Jones Firm, our Ohio premises liability attorneys have helped many injured clients pursue fair compensation from negligent stores and property owners. In this blog, we’ll explore when a store may be liable for a customer injury and what you need to know about filing a premises liability claim.

Premises Liability Law in Ohio

Premises liability refers to the legal concept that a property owner can be held responsible for injuries that occur on their property due to unsafe or hazardous conditions. To establish premises liability against a store in Ohio, the injured customer must prove the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The store owed the customer a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining a safe environment on the premises.
  2. Breach of Duty: The store breached this duty by failing to address or warn about a known hazardous condition.
  3. Causation: The store’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the customer’s injury.
  4. Damages: The customer suffered actual harm, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc., due to the injury.

Common types of premises liability claims against retail stores include slip and fall accidents, falling merchandise injuries, inadequate security incidents, and other injuries caused by dangerous conditions on the property.

Common Hazards and Negligence in Retail Stores

There are numerous potential hazards that can lead to customer injuries in retail environments, most of which stem from some form of negligence by the store owner or employees. Examples include:

  • Slippery floors from spills, leaks, or improper cleaning
  • Lack of proper lighting, making it hard to see obstacles
  • Failure to post warning signs about potential dangers
  • Neglecting regular inspection and maintenance of the premises
  • Negligent actions by staff, like improperly stocking merchandise

For a store to be held liable, their negligence must have directly contributed to the existence of the hazardous condition that caused the customer’s injury.

Establishing Store Liability for Customer Injuries

To successfully hold a store liable in an Ohio premises liability case, it’s necessary to prove the store had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard and that the resulting injury was foreseeable.

  • Actual Knowledge: This means the store was aware of the dangerous condition but failed to address it promptly. For example, if an employee knew about a spill but didn’t clean it up right away.
  • Constructive Knowledge: Even if the store didn’t have actual knowledge, constructive knowledge exists if the hazard was present long enough that the store should have discovered it through regular inspections and reasonable maintenance efforts.
  • Foreseeability: The customer’s injury must have been a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the store’s failure to fix or warn about the hazardous condition.

Ohio also follows comparative negligence rules for premises liability cases. This means a customer’s compensation can be reduced if they are found partially at fault for their own injury due to inattentiveness or careless behavior.

Damages and Compensation in Store Injury Cases

If a store is found liable for a customer’s injury in Ohio, the victim may be entitled to recover compensation for their related damages, including:

Economic Damages

  • Medical expenses (current and future)
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Loss of future earning capacity if disabled

Non-Economic Damages

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of regular activities

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages in premises liability cases are rare. However, in cases of egregious conduct by the store, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the store and deter future lapses in safety standards.

The total compensation amount will depend on factors like the severity of injuries, extent of negligence, strength of evidence, and relevant Ohio laws.

Pursuing a Premises Liability Claim in Ohio

If you or a loved one was injured due to a store’s failure to maintain a safe environment, take the following steps:

  1. Document Everything: Photos, videos, incident reports, witness statements, and your medical records will all help build your claim.
  2. Don’t Accept The First Settlement Offer: The store’s insurance company will likely offer a small amount to settle your case early on. Consult an attorney first.
  3. Be Prepared to File Suit: If settlement negotiations fail, your attorney may need to file a premises liability lawsuit to obtain just compensation. Ohio has a two-year statute of limitations.
  4. Hire an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer: The attorneys at The Jones Firm specialize in these complex cases. We know how to gather evidence, calculate full damages, negotiate with insurers, and take cases to trial if needed.

An experienced Ohio premises liability lawyer from our firm can handle all aspects of your claim, fight for the compensation you deserve, and lift that legal burden off your shoulders as you recover from your injuries.

Contact an Ohio Premises Liability Lawyer

If you or someone you love was seriously injured due to a dangerous condition or hazard in an Ohio retail store, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Don’t take on the big insurance companies alone – they will look for any way to devalue or deny your legitimate claim.

The premises liability attorneys at The Jones Firm have experience representing injured clients in complex cases against negligent stores and property owners in Ohio. We know how to investigate, collect key evidence, bring in expert witnesses if needed, and build a strong case strategy to maximize your recovery for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

Don’t wait until it’s too late – there are strict time limits for taking legal action in Ohio premises liability cases. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your injury, your legal rights, and how our firm can help you pursue the justice and fair compensation you deserve. Call now or visit our website to get started.

Author Bio

Geoff Jones is the CEO and Managing Partner of The Jones Firm, a personal injury law firm in Columbus, Ohio. With years of experience in personal injury law, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, wrongful death, and other cases.

Geoff received his Juris Doctor from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and is a member of the Columbus Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being selected to Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2022-2023.

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