This time of year, many people in the Greater Toronto Area spend time in stores picking up groceries for holiday meals and gatherings, and last minute items to give as gifts. When someone enters a store for any of the items needed, they are likely focused on the things on their list and not checking for hazards that could result in injuries.

Your Safety and Occupiers’ Liability

There are a wide variety of accidents that could occur in a store. For example, sometimes displays that visitors might trip over are placed in areas that are not safe. Other times debris or spills that are on the floor could cause someone to slip and fall. If there are poorly maintained or dimly lit staircases, here again it is possible a patron could trip and fall.

Sometimes it is falling objects, not visitors to the store, that could result in an injury occurring. Similarly, if materials that are hazardous are left in areas where there is a lot of traffic, someone could be hurt. Stores are responsible for maintaining parking lots and sidewalks as well.

Tips for Shopping Safe

1. Get out early: The closer you are to the holiday season, the more panicked and hectic all shoppers become. Start your shopping as early in the month as possible, and finish it early. You’ll be thankful that you avoided the added adrenaline, distracted drivers and busy shoppers who are neglecting important safety practices.

2. Pick slower times in the day to shop: Avoiding the rush and bustle of the busiest peak shopping times can often be your best defense against any accidents during your shopping trip. When there is an overcapacity of shoppers, displays or a spill on the floor can be overlooked and cause a hazardous accident. Shopping during more relaxed hours will mean less hazards, and will also cause you to shop with greater alertness and relaxation than if you are surrounded by other panicked, hectic shoppers.

3. Shop alone, or shop with support: If holiday shopping isn’t stressful enough already, adding several trailing children to the mix or a partner who tends to disappear to another section of the store could make matters even worse. It might be smart to leave the kids at home, as the bustling stores and panicked shoppers can pose several risks and hazards. Your kids may get distracted by the holiday decorations and cheer, and perhaps walk into harm’s way because they’re not paying as close attention as they normally would. If bringing your children along, also bring support. Consider assigning one person to watch the kids and surveilling for possible hazards in the store, and the other to doing the holiday shopping. Protect everyone in your family by shopping smart, and shopping safe.

If You Have Been Involved In a Holiday Shopping Accident

If your holiday season takes a bad turn because of an injury at a store that could have been prevented, you may be able to recover damages. An occupiers’ liability lawsuit is the method that is may be used and a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of cases of this nature should be contacted in a timely manner. After gathering evidence and facts, that individual can decide on the best way to proceed.