During the Holiday Season, retail shopping hits its stride as to revenues and customer traffic. With sales and holiday shopping, customers are present in numbers at retail stores, department stores, sporting good stores, and, yes, shopping malls. During these busy months and, yes, at other times of years, a child is the unfortunate victim of an injury that takes place on the premises of a store or shopping center. As a Florida Child Injury Lawyer, I am often asked if there is a case or claim to pursue on behalf of the injured child. The answer to this question like many others is as follows: “It depends.” In order to establish a case or claim for injuries and damages against a store or shopping mall, a parent, on behalf of the injured child has a duty to prove the four elements of a legal case: 1. Duty; 2. Breach of Duty; 3. Causation; and 4. Damages
Each and every element must be established and linked together in order to establish a claim or case for the personal injury of the child. Unlike baseball where a batting average of 500 would be amazing, it is mandatory that each and every element is proved rather then just half of them.
1. Duty. This refers to the general responsibilities of the store or property owner to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. It should be pointed out that this does not mean that a property owner is liable for every single injury that takes place on the property. The property only needs to act reasonably and timely in order to maintain the premises, clean up spills, post warning signs, and/or take other actions that are reasonable person or property owner would take under the facts and circumstances.
2. Breach of Duty. This refers to the actions for interactions on the part of the property owner that lead to or cause the damages sustained by the victim. It is not enough that incident merely took place. It must be shown that a store over property owner breached a reasonable duty, policies and procedures, State laws and regulations, or some other standards pertaining to the safe condition of the premises.
3. Causation. This refers to the link between the breach of duty and the damages. In other words, it must be shown that the breach of duty caused or proximately caused the damages or injuries sustained sustained by the child.
4. Damages. This refers to the injuries or harm caused by the incident. So if a person can show all four elements of a case does this mean that case your client will be pursued on the behalf of the child by a Personal Injury Lawyer? The answer to this question is as follows: “Not necessarily.” Each case must be evaluated on its own facts circumstances. In addition to the legal elements of the case, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer will review the case to determine if it is practical to pursue the case on behalf of the child. In some instances, the elements of the case are questionable and can be challenged. For instance if the child only sees the doctor one time and is no permanent injuries as a result of the incident, many personal injury attorneys will decline representation in such case especially if the liability or fault of the store or shopping center is less than clear.
Since personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, there is typically no charge to contact a Child Injury Lawyer and set up a consultation regarding these matters.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Store and Shopping Center Injuries, Medical Treatment and Bills, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.