The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and nobody wants to sit out the season because of an injury. Unfortunately, it’s not just Black Friday shopping that can result in an unhappy surprise. People are injured at malls and retail shops all year ’round, but the busier the day, the more likely retailers are to skip important safety obligations.
Shopping centers, like all businesses that welcome the public, have a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect you from injuries and crime. This is called premises liability, and it requires retailers to perform repairs, maintenance, clean-ups, inventory stacking, crowd control and other duties in a reasonable and timely fashion. If they do not do so and someone is injured, the property owner or manager could be held responsible to compensate the injured person for their medical expenses and other losses.
While the property owner is responsible for making sure the premises are reasonably safe, here are three areas where you can take steps to protect yourself and your children from injury this year:
Avoid being a victim of crime in the parking lot.
Parking lots and structures can become crime scenes simply because shoppers are present. Business owners need to be aware of crime in their parking areas and take reasonable steps to keep people safe. What you can do is to stay aware of your surroundings and be ready to react:
- Choose a parking spot in a well-lit area away from easy hiding places like bushes.
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages and have your keys in your hand as you head to the car.
- When parking at a second location, hide your purchases in the trunk or under a blanket, roll up your windows and lock your car.
Pay attention around escalators.
- If you’re shopping with children, make sure they have no loose shoelaces, dangling strings, scarves or mittens that could get caught in the escalator and pull them in.
- Teach your child to face forward, keep their toes back from the interior edge of the steps, and pay attention whenever riding on an escalator.
- It is extremely dangerous to bring a stroller, walker or cart on an escalator.
Careful around that holiday traffic.
- On a busy shopping day, assume every driver near a shopping center is distracted.
- Use designated crosswalks, preferably at a stoplight.
- Make sure approaching vehicles have fully stopped before stepping off the curb.
Have a safe and happy holiday season this year!