While it might seem otherwise in the eyes of the public, large regional and national retail outlets that operate in New York have to watch costs and expenses just like every other business.
One need only watch the news to realize that bigger retailers are not immune from serious financial problems and even bankruptcy.
Liability claims, including premises liability claims, can be costly.
Most retail businesses of course want to keep their customers safe from slips-and-falls, falling objects and other accidents, but they also do not want to pay for accidents for which they are not responsible.
After all, many businesses choose to pay for most of these claims out-of-pocket, reserving their insurance coverage for catastrophic accidents or for years in which the number of claims is exceptionally high.
Those who do rely on insurance companies more frequently for coverage have to worry about significant increases in premium after a high number of claims.
Retailers only have to take reasonable steps to prevent accidents
Retailers cannot prevent every possible accident and should not be expected to do so.
Many times, a victim may file a claim against a big box store or other large retailer over a defect that the store simply knew nothing about or had no time to correct.
To give a common example that might affect Staten Island businesses, stores have reasonable time to shovel their parking lots and sidewalks after a snowstorm.
Someone who slips and falls because they came to a store in the middle of a blizzard, for example, may not be able to hold the store liable.
In other cases, a careful investigation may show that even if a store really could have done more to prevent an accident, a victim’s injuries really were not as serious as claimed. In other cases, the victim’s condition may have existed before the accident.
Unfortunately, there are also some who fabricate accidents or premises defects in order to make money.
One of our areas of practice is protecting retail stores against premises liability claims. When there is liability, we help manage these claims to be sure that the store pays only what it owes.