Premises Liability and Shopping Injuries


New York is famous for its many shopping destinations, but shopping can be dangerous, especially in large crowds. Injuries that occur while shopping are common enough that "shopping injuries" is a term used in the legal area of premises liability. Shopping injuries range from slips and falls to injuries involving shopping carts.

Store owners could be liable for damages when shoppers at their stores are injured. This includes injuries that happen inside a store or outside in the parking lot. Shopping injuries could be caused by slippery floors, uneven terrain in parking lots, icy parking lots or walkways, items falling, tipped shopping carts, or crowd-related situations like trampling, pushing, or shoving. Those types of injuries are most likely during busy shopping times such as Black Friday or when stores have advertised major sales events.

While store owners have a legal responsibility to keep their property reasonably safe, not every injury that happens at or outside of a store is the fault of the owner. An injury could be considered the shopper's own fault if, for example, it happened after the customer willfully traversed an area that was obviously dangerous, such as a broken section of pavement in a parking lot.

Proving that a store owner is liable for damages for a shopper's injury generally involves proving that the injury was caused by unsafe property conditions and that the property owner knew of the danger and failed to either remove it or post warning signs. Store owners are generally aware of premises liability laws and may be prepared to mount defenses against negligence claims. An owner might argue that the injured person was actually injured somewhere else or that the injury was not severe enough to warrant the awarding of damages.