Articles Tagged with premises liability

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Untitled-design-3-300x300A recent wrongful death case in Florida raises an issue we see in our practice as well. What happened? A hotel guest was shot and killed in the facility’s parking lot. The shooter was not an employee of the hotel. Here is the issue — When is a business liable for a criminal act by someone else on its property?

By someone else, I mean someone who is not an employee of that business. We are talking an outside person who arrives and commits a crime that causes a personal injury. I’ll talk about employees who commit criminal acts in a later post – Those cases raise other questions about the employer and the actions it took to vet, monitor or supervise its employees. Today, we’ll just talk about a non-employee who shows up, commits a crime and hurts a customer in the process.

I’ll give you a few more details about the Florida case. Several guests provided statements indicating the shooter had been harassing people at the hotel before the shooting. The investigation revealed that the shooter became enraged after arguing with his girlfriend who worked for the hotel. Now that you know a few more facts, it’s clear this was not some random stranger who showed up and hurt someone. Like so many legal issues – The issues are difficult and require skilled legal advice.

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Alabama Premises Liability InjuryEarlier this week, I read an article about a lady in another state who suffered a serious head injury from falling merchandise in her local Walmart store. You can read the article at Lawsuit Says TV Fell On Woman. While this lady was a customer, falling merchandise is a danger to both customers and other store employees.

Over the years, we’ve represented numerous retail workers injured by falling merchandise. In many of those cases, we were fighting for work comp benefits due to serious head and upper body injuries. We’ve also represented numerous workers injured because a store required them to climb and retrieve merchandise at heights with little regard for safety. In both situations, merchandise stored or displayed at significant heights presents serious dangers. This presents a huge risk of traumatic brain injury to people. Many customers don’t realize this risk as they shop the aisles at our local stores.

Today, I’ll focus mainly on customers. Is falling merchandise a danger to innocent store customers? Yes, in many big box stores it is a serious issue. In recent years, I’ve prepared a case very similar to the one in the news article I mentioned at the beginning of this post. My case also involved falling merchandise at a Walmart. This Walmart was in Guntersville. My client suffered both traumatic head and shoulder injuries which left her significantly disabled. Because of her injuries, she required shoulder surgery. And, she suffered cognitive impairments from the traumatic brain injury. These accidents are often very serious. What is the problem with falling merchandise at big box retailers?

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Slip1-300x300We receive many calls from people injured after a fall in Alabama. Many people believe (wrongly) that a local business is always responsible for any fall-related injury on its premises. This belief is wrong. In truth, we turndown almost all potential slip and fall cases. Alabama slip and fall cases are very difficult to win.

Alabama Supreme Court Issues New Decision Which Discusses Problems With Slip And Fall Cases

In January 2020, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a decision discussing one of the biggest defenses in slip and fall cases — The Open And Obvious Defense. You can read my prior blog article discussing this case at:

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Accident & Injury Lawyers at Blackwell Law FirmSlip and fall injury? Many lawyers cringe at the phrase. Why? The answer is simple — These are among the most difficult cases. Public perception and legal reality are very different when it comes to slip and fall cases. Many people think, I slipped and fell at Walmart. So, Walmart has to take care of my injuries. Most people think the property owner is simply responsible for a fall. But, that’s not the law. The reality is much different. Walmart is only responsible in certain, specific situations. Sorry (not really) to pick on you, Walmart. But, that’s the price you pay when you are the biggest retail store.

Slip and fall cases are very difficult. The rights and responsibilities vary depending on the reasons why you are present on the property. That’s a discussion for another post. And, these cases are won or lost on specific, detailed facts.

One of the biggest defenses to slip and fall cases — The Open And Obvious Defense. What is this defense? If the danger should have been observed by the injured person, it is considered open and obvious. The question is whether a reasonable person would have noticed the danger. That’s a tough issue in many slip and fall cases. Again, the specific facts are key!

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