The Duties of Shopping Malls to Guests
Owners of Shopping malls owe a responsibility or a duty to their guests to maintain their malls and keep the premises safe for all of their customers. This duty extends to all persons who may be at the mall. It does not matter if you buy anything from any of the retail outlets, you are still owed the duty. Shopping mall owners are required to keep entrances and exits clear from any unreasonable hazards and the must also repair any dangers that exists on their property. If the Shopping mall fails to keep their property safe, they might be liable for any injuries caused by their failure to maintain the property. There are numerous ways a shopping mall can breach this duty to maintain the premises in a safe condition. Some examples include failing to repair leaking roofs and allowing water on the tile floors to become a slip hazard, failing to repair faulty escalators that cause injury, failing to replace cracked or broken tile causing a trip injury etc.
What is a Shopping Mall?
Most people think of a “Shopping Mall” as a large indoor shopping center with large stores, small shops and a food court like the Galleria Mall, The Fashion Show Mall, The Meadows Mall or the Summerlin Mall here in Clark County. However, for purposes of this article and for civil liability for injuries, A shopping mall aka Mall is a general term for a large indoor or outdoor shopping center. Therefore, this article is applicable to shopping centers like Towne Square, The District and all shopping locations where multiple stores or shops are located in one area. The term “mall“ refers to a “pedestrian promenade with shops along the walkways.
Is the Mall or the Store liable for my Injury?
The location where you are injured in the mall will determine who is liable for your injuries. The mall owners are not responsible for each and every injury that happens inside the mall. Sometimes the independent store owners may be held responsible if the hazardous condition or cause of the injury occurred inside an independent store. If your injury occurs inside one of the shops in the mall, that store owner is the entity or person that will be liable for your damages most of the time. However, of course, nothing in law is ever quit that simple. For example, if it was a leaking roof that caused a wet surface that caused you to fall inside a store, it can be the mall owners who are liable for creating the hazardous condition and the store responsibility for failing to clean up the area or warn customers of the hazard.
As a general matter, the mall owners are responsible for maintaining common areas including the entrances and exits, common walking areas in the mall, and parking lots. If your injury occurs in one of those areas, the mall owner is most likely responsible for the injuries you sustain. If you are inside a store when you sustain injury, it may be only the store owner who is liable. It is important to point out here the importance of collecting the proper evidence at the scene of the accident at the time it happens to determine who is liable for your injury. If you are injured in a shopping mall, take photographs of the hazard that caused your injury, and be sure to take the following steps while you are at the scene:
- Take Photographs of the entire scene near and around where the injury occurred;
- Request any and all surveillance footage from the manager, and if you give a written statement, be sure to put this request in that statement;
- Obtain all eyewitness contact information yourself, do not rely on the store to obtain this information;
- Make a report to the manager at the scene and request a copy of the accident report while you are at the scene.
In addition to the information you collect at the scene, the lease signed buy a store owner might also determine what party is responsible for your injuries. An example of this is a lease may establish which party is responsible for maintaining the entrance to the store. Collecting evidence at the scene is of critical importance.
Liability of the Mall Owner to Victims of Crime on the Premise
It is a sad reality that crime happens in all places, including shopping malls. In order for a mall owner to be civilly liable for injuries you sustain as the result of a violent crime happening to you at the mall, it will be necessary to prove that the mall owner failed to “exercise reasonable care or take reasonable precautions to protect potential victims of crime.” An example of this is having adequate security on the premises during all open business hours to deter such violent acts. However, “reasonable precautions” does not mean that a shopping mall owner must absolutely prevent any violent crime from occurring on the property. It simply means that they must take reasonable precautions.
If you are the victim of a violent crime at a shopping mall, it will be necessary to prove that the crime committed against you was both “foreseeable and that the owner of the mall did not take reasonable precautions to protect customers from the foreseeable threat.” If you are the victim of a violent crime at a shopping mall, call our office at TheOneLawyer.com as soon as possible for a free consultation to discuss your injuries and the possible liability for your personal injuries sustained at the shopping mall.
Making a Claim Against a Shopping Mall
If you have been injured at a shopping mall, you may seek legal advice from a lawyer. An attorney can gather and evaluate evidence. In addition, a personal injury attorney will be able to file a complaint and be able to request documents, subpoena maintenance records, interview witnesses, and conduct depositions to preserve witness testimony
Getting a Lawyer to Fight for You
You may look for a personal injury attorney who has the experience handling claims against shopping malls for severe injuries. There are lawyers who fight against large commercial venues like shopping malls, retails stores, hotels and all commercial business who may negligently cause injuries to their guests. If the victim is a worker in the mall, they may hire a workplace injury lawyer to help protect their rights.