When stores in California flip on that neon “OPEN” sign in the morning, they’re inviting you in to look around, select the items you need and spend your hard-earned money.

But inviting you in also brings with it a responsibility to do all they can to keep you safe.

Shop owners must make sure there’s adequate lighting, that boxes aren’t stacked to the ceiling with the danger of falling on top of shoppers and that trip hazards have been mitigated.

But what if a customer slips and falls?

Slip-and-fall accidents can lead to a number of serious injuries, including head trauma, broken bones or chronic back problems. Older people are particularly prone to serious injuries in a fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that falls are the No. 1 cause of injuries and death from injury among those 65 and older. In fact, 28,000 seniors die each year from falls.

No one wants that.

So, just how can retailers prevent slip-and-fall accidents? There are a number of ways:

  • Keep aisles clear. Stock shelves or put out new inventory during non-open hours or rope off aisles if they must have boxes, pallets or other items in the aisles when the store is open.
  • Cover all electrical cords to prevent tripping.
  • Have adequate lighting so customers can see their way.
  • Clean up any spills immediately.
  • Put up “wet floor” signs if customers are tracking in water from outside or if there are any leaks.
  • Repair torn carpeting or any cracks in the flooring.
  • Assign employees to regularly monitor the store and restroom areas to check for any hazards.
  • Don’t neglect the outdoor areas. Look for things such as cracks in the pavement.

If you are injured after slipping and falling in a retail store, consult with an attorney to determine how you can seek recovery for your medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.