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McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, PA

What must I prove in a personal injury lawsuit against a store?

Heavy shopping seasons may create dangerous conditions at retail stores. Store owners and their employees, however, owe a duty of care to keep their premises free of clutter, debris and falling objects. If you sustain a serious injury, such as what might occur in a slip and fall, you may file a legal action against a store’s owner to cover your medical expenses. 

To succeed, however, New Mexico’s laws may require you to prove negligence on the part of the store’s employees. As reported by Business.com, an owner’s defense may include asserting that you acted carelessly while in the establishment. 

How do I know if I have grounds to file a claim? 

A store hazard, such as racks blocking aisles or a wet floor, may have caused your injury. While a store owner may claim that you needed to exercise caution to avoid getting hurt, employees also owe a duty to warn you of a known risk. 

Aisle blockages, for example, may become a serious fire hazard if goods pile up and prevent customers from finding an emergency exit door. Employees need to take steps to prevent such hazards from developing. A busy store may require placing an employee in charge of monitoring and clearing aisles of obstructions. Wet floors and objects falling from shelves also require an employee’s immediate attention. 

How may I show that an employee breached a duty?

If, for example, you hurt yourself by unexpectedly bumping into a heavy cart left in the middle of an aisle, an employee’s negligence may have caused your injury. When an employee cannot move an obstruction, he or she must warn customers about the possible danger. 

Placing orange cones or yellow tape to cordon off a blocked aisle may release a store’s owner of liability for your injuries. Without a noticeable warning, however, you may seek compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost wages.