Home improvement stores offer the average consumer many DIY project tools, equipment, and supplies. However, a mundane trip to the store can expose consumers and employees to hazardous conditions. If you were injured at Lowe’s due to the chain’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. In this article, we’ll discuss five parts of the personal injury lawsuit process that are essential to make a claim.
1. Know the Hazards in Home Improvement Stores
Home improvement stores present unique dangers to customers and employees. In a grocery store, for example, a customer might slip and fall on freshly mopped floors where no warning was posted. A home improvement store has all the risks of any other business within aisles of heavy materials stacked high that are only accessible using heavy machinery. As a result, customers and employees risk injuries from:
- Slippery floors due to spills or cleaning
- Obstructions on walkways or aisles
- Falling objects from shelves or displays
- Faulty tools or equipment
- Negligence or inadequate training of employees
A Nevada woman successfully sued her local Lowe’s after a slip and fall caused numerous serious injuries. The customer slipped on a “slimy, wet substance” in the garden area and knocked over a wet floor sign. Lowe’s argued the sign was a proper warning to customers, but the plaintiff’s attorneys concluded the sign was not visible and the wet floor should have been cleaned up.
As a chain retailer, Lowe’s has thousands of stores nationwide visited by millions of consumers. A warning sign about dangers is helpful, but keeping the environment safe in the first place is imperative.
2. Understand Commercial Retailer Liability
Home improvement retailers can be liable for personal injuries if they were negligent or failed to provide reasonable care for their customers’ safety. This includes providing adequate warnings about potential hazards and appropriately addressing them. The key to a personal injury case is to prove that the store conditions were unsafe and that the accident could have been avoided with proper precautions.
3. Treat and Document Injuries
If you were injured at Lowe’s, here are some steps you should take to obtain evidence:
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if your injuries seem minor. It’s still important to report the incident to the store manager or staff member and document it, as you may develop injuries later. If you decide to pursue legal action later on, having this information can help support your case.
- Report the incident to the store manager or a staff member as soon as possible.
- Document the incident by taking photos or videos of the scene, any injuries you sustained, and anything else that may help support your claim.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the incident.
4. Identify Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases
The damages available in a premises liability lawsuit can vary depending on the case’s specific facts. Still, they generally fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified, such as:
- Medical expenses, including past, present, and future costs.
- Lost wages, including past and future lost earnings
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Transportation expenses
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify but can be as significant as economic damages. These damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (the loss of companionship and services of a spouse or intimate partner)
In some cases, the plaintiff may also recover punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the defendant for their gross negligence or recklessness. They are typically awarded in severe cases and North Carolina limits the amount available.
The amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover in a premises liability lawsuit will depend on the specific facts of the case and the laws of the state where the lawsuit is filed. However, even if the plaintiff can only recover economic damages, these damages can be significant. They can help cover medical care costs, lost wages, and other expenses.
5. Hire Experienced Attorneys
Home improvement stores must ensure the safety of their customers. If you suffer a personal injury while shopping at one of these stores, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Understanding home improvement stores’ personal injury liability and taking appropriate steps after an incident can help you recover necessary damages.
If you were injured at Lowe’s due to the store’s negligence, contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Howard. Call our office at (919) 526-0450 or submit a message through our contact page to reach our intake team. Our staff tries to connect each potential client with the appropriate resources. We will evaluate the details you provide and connect you with a referral to another attorney if we cannot accept your case.