Who is Responsible for Mall Injury?
If you were injured at a mall you most likely believe that the mall will be responsible but that isn’t necessarily true. The Florida mall accident lawyers at the Wolfson Law Firm regularly represent clients who were seriously injured at Florida malls and shopping centers. In our experience, most mall injury cases will involve two and sometimes more defendants.
All personal injury cases need a thorough investigation. The reasons for investigating include gathering evidence, developing theories of liability and identifying potentially responsible persons or entities. As the at fault parties are determined each is placed on notice of the client’s claim and our personal injury representation.
Personal injury investigations begin at the location of the accident or incident. In the case of a mall accident, the location is particularly important. Mall accidents can happen in the common areas, the food court, restrooms, parking lot or inside of a store. The types of mall accidents can include:
- Slip and fall
- Trip and fall
- Step and fall
- Escalator injuries
- Elevator injuries
- Criminal attacks
- Mall parking lot accidents
- Pedestrian accidents in mall parking lot
- Bicycle injuries at malls
- Falling merchandise or products
- Broken stairs or handrails
Once the potentially responsible parties are identified, notice letters are sent. Aside from placing the party on notice of the personal injury claim and our representation, we also ask for the insurance information for that corporation. In some responses, the company will advise us of an additional potential defendant.
The owner of the mall can be found in public records. First, we start with the county property appraiser to identify the owner of the mall. Once we have a name we look to SunBiz in Florida which is the online directory for corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships. In SunBiz we can identify the president of the company as well as the designated registered agent. This information is also important if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit.
One little known fact is that many companies spread the risk of loss as part of contract negotiations. Governmental agencies also do this. Typically, a request for proposal is announced for a particular job. The easiest example is janitorial services. When a company submits a bid to provide janitorial services for a mall or government building part of the process includes a requirement for insurance and indemnity. The mall owner may require that the vendor, such as the janitorial service, carry $1 million of liability insurance. It may further require that the janitorial service indemnify the mall for any liability that arises from the janitorial services rendered. Lastly, the mall may ask to be named as an additional insured on the liability policy.
In the example above, if you slip and fall in the mall bathroom because of a wet floor with no caution signs then you may sue the mall. But in the course of litigation, the mall may disclose that the janitorial company is actually responsible for the dangerous conditions that led to your injury. At that point, your complaint will need to be amended and the janitorial service will be added as a defendant.
Besides the mall, other potential defendants in a premises liability case can include:
- Janitorial service
- Property manager
- Landscaping company
- Porter company
- Security company
- Construction company
- Escalator company
- Elevator company
- Cleaning company
Ultimately, the determination of responsible parties all begins with a complete investigation. Even after a close inspection of available evidence, potential defendants may not be disclosed or discovered until litigation is underway. But with perseverance and patience, you can get the full, fair and complete compensation that you deserve.