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Slips and falls in big box stores: Who is responsible?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Premises Liability

shopping cart in the isle of a wholesale club retail store

Millions of people make their way to big box stores like Home Depot, Walmart, Target and Costco for the goods they need – whether they’re looking for electronics, home goods or groceries.

Unfortunately, the huge spaces these stores occupy also create a huge potential for slip-and-fall accidents.

Premises liability laws require businesses to be vigilant

While big box stores are typically understaffed (which can lead to hazards being overlooked) or staffed with people who aren’t paid much (and, therefore, may be less inclined to care about anything they aren’t absolutely required to do), the business still has a legal responsibility to keep the property reasonably safe for customers and other legal visitors.

This includes both the premises inside the store and the sidewalk out front, as well as the parking lot, the loading area in the back and any other property that’s under the company’s control. When a business fails to address known hazards (or hazards that they should have reasonably known were there), tragedy can follow.

A slip-and-fall accident can happen in numerous ways, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Wet or slippery floors: Spills from dropped drinks, leaks from broken bottles, melted ice creeping out from a busted refrigerated section or a freshly mopped floor with no warning signs are all dangerous to shoppers.
  • Cluttered aisles and walkways: Pallets of merchandise can be everywhere, especially during busy shopping seasons, and overstocked shelves can cause shoppers to lose their balance and fall when reaching for something.
  • Poorly maintained flooring: Sometimes big box stores don’t get around to repairs right away when the tile on the floor gets chipped and broken or a rug by the entrance starts to tear. All it takes is a heel caught in a crack or on a pulled thread for a shopper to go tumbling.
  • Weather-related issues: Snow and ice can be left to build up in lots or on sidewalks long after they should be cleared, and wet floors can quickly turn slick and treacherous.

If a big box store failed to exercise the proper diligence and you or someone you love was hurt as a result, you have every right to ask for fair compensation for your losses. Seeking legal guidance about your slip-n-fall accident accordingly, is likely wise.