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What should I do if I was hurt on business property?

When you are a customer or patron of a business, the business has an obligation to ensure the premises are kept in a reasonably safe condition.  However, just because you suffer an injury while a customer or patron, does not automatically mean the store is responsible for your damages.  Be sure to understand what your premises liability rights are. Here are some important tips to remember if a dangerous condition inside a business caused you to be injured.

  • Find out everything you can about what caused the accident.  For example, if you slipped and fell on a liquid substance inside a business, specifically identify what the liquid is, its physical characteristics (e.g. color), and where it came from.
  • Find out if the business or it’s employees knew about the dangerous condition and failed to act.  For a claim to be successful, a business must often have actual or constructive knowledge that the dangerous condition existed.  So, if the business knew that the dangerous condition existed and did not take steps to warn you or remedy the condition, they might be found to have had actual notice.  Further, if a business creates the dangerous condition then proving legal notice may not necessary.    
  • Ascertain how the dangerous condition was created or how it came to be there.  Finding out how the dangerous condition came to exist also helps with proving actual or constructive notice.  If, for example, a grocery store employee spills water while pushing a produce cart and that water later causes a customer to slip and fall, you may not need to prove notice as the business may be found to have created the dangerous condition.
  • Take pictures of the dangerous condition.  Taking pictures of the accident scene and your injuries is always helpful to provide context and visual evidence.  For example, a picture of the liquid that causes a fall not only corroborates your claim, but is more persuasive than you simply verbally describing the liquid.    
  • Complete an incident report.  Completing an incident report can be challenging in the aftermath of an injury at a business.  Many times, an injured customer must leave immediately to seek medical attention.  If you cannot complete an incident report immediately, just remember to complete one as soon as possible.      
  • Immediately demand the business save all video surveillance.  For the most part, after an accident Tennessee evidence laws require businesses to preserve evidence if there is a premises liability claim.  However, it is always best to demand the business save all video related to the accident because video is often recorded over after a short period of time.  Video evidence can be vital to your case because it helps identify many specifics related to the accident.

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