An Ohio woman was recently awarded a $1.2 million verdict after a jury trial in a personal injury claim against a grocery store, based on injuries that she sustained when another customer lost control of a motorized shopping cart and crashed into her. As a result of the collision, the woman hit her head and suffered serious head and neck injuries. According to a news report covering the case, the woman’s claim alleged that the grocery store did not adequately show its customers how to use the motorized carts safely and negligently caused her injuries. After the parties were unable to agree on settlement terms, the case was submitted to a jury, which awarded the woman over $1.2 million.
The recent $1.2 million jury award demonstrates that businesses and other responsible entities may be legally accountable for the actions of their customers in the event of an injury or death. Businesses have a legal duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for customers while they are open to the public. Businesses that provide potentially dangerous machinery or activities have a responsibility to ensure that people participating are able to do so safely. Businesses may have a duty to train or educate customers about the use of potentially dangerous equipment, and if they fail to do so, they may be held accountable for creating a hazard to other customers in the event an injury occurs. In certain circumstances, businesses or property owners can even be held accountable for the intentional conduct of a customer if the property owner should have reasonably anticipated the risk of the customer’s conduct occurring.