Just because you are on someone else’s property, does not make them a guarantor of your safety. The premises owner, or the person in control of the premises, must know of or should have known of the hazardous condition that caused your injury. If the owner or person in control of the premises knew of or should have known of the hazardous condition but failed to warn you of the condition and it was not open and obvious to you, you may have a premises liability claim.
North Carolina is one of only four remaining states with the outdated and unfair law of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence often plays a prominent role in the analysis of premises liability cases. The negligent premises owner makes the circular argument that if it should have known of the hazardous condition, then you should have seen the hazardous condition and are, therefore, contributorily negligent and entitled to no recovery. If you did not see the hazardous condition, then the owner argues that the hazardous condition was not obvious and so not known to the owner and there is no liability.
Because of this outdated law of contributory negligence, it is often necessary to contact an attorney as soon as possible to investigate the claim. Frequently, the premises owner may require an incident report and may also have video of the area. It is important to make sure that the evidence is preserved.
When you fall in a public place, it is typically embarrassing and your initial thought is to get up and get out of the store as soon as possible. Nevertheless, you should try and obtain names of any potential witnesses. You should be mindful about anything that you say that is being placed in an incident report. Before you agree to provide information, you should insist on a copy of the report. If the premises owner will not provide you with a copy of the report, you should be suspicious of what is being placed in the report.