As the holiday season approaches, the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping will also commence, leaving many stores, malls, shopping centers, and outlets in a state of organized chaos. But have you ever wondered what responsibilities the store owners have to protect its store patrons from harm? Well, you should.
Unfortunately, the family of 10-year-old Juliana Valdez of Paramus, New Jersey had to find out the hard way just how negligent a store may be. Valdez and her parents didn't think much of the potential dangers a store can possess until it was too late. While shopping in Macy’s with her mother and brother at the Garden State Plaza Shopping Center in Paramus, her right sneaker was sucked into the escalator, trapping her leg.
A bystander pressed the emergency stop button. Police officers, rescue workers and several other people dismantled the landing area to free her leg, yet the damage had already been done.
As a lawsuit currently ensues, the attorney for the young girl revealed that the escalator was installed in 1958, making it one of the oldest in the state. It was also poorly maintained and had gaps between the steps.
Although the case is still pending, it shines a light on the dismal truth swept under the rug, especially during the holiday season. Store owners have a duty to protect you and to ensure a safe environment. Furthermore, when a person or a family member has been injured in an accident on the premises of a business, the injured person, such as Ms. Valdez, suffers an impaired quality of life. Additionally, the family may experience unexpected financial hardships such as medical bills and lost wages if the injured person is not able to return to work.
An attorney may be able to review the facts surrounding the accident, secure maintenance records, interview maintenance staff and build a claim that may result in compensation for the injured person or their family.
Keep an eye out for danger this holiday season, stay safe, and remember: if you are hurt as a result of the store's negligence, you may have a claim.