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Can movie theaters be held liable for patrons' injuries?

What better way to escape the scorching Mississippi summer heat than to sit in an air-conditioned movie theater for a couple of hours and enjoy the latest superhero film, dinosaur adventures or musical numbers performed by the "Mamma Mia" gang?

We generally don't think of movie theaters as places where we're likely to be injured. However, with the popularity of stadium seating, you're likely to be climbing up and down multiple steps as you find your way to your seat or take a break to use the restroom in the middle of the film.

Stairs can be particularly dangerous. The combination of low or virtually no lighting, worn carpets, sections without handrails, litter and other movie-goers pushing and shoving to get the best seat or make it back from a popcorn run without missing any crucial scenes can create a serious risk of injury.

Slippery floors, particularly in the lobby and café areas of the theater are another danger. Spilled sodas and the butter that gets squirted onto popcorn can make for hazardous walking before you even get into the theater section of the venue. Freshly cleaned and polished floors can be even more slippery.

People often blame their own clumsiness or failure to pay attention to their surroundings when they fall in a movie theater (or any other public or private venue). However, the theater may have some liability. For example, did the managers and staff fail to attend to a spill on the floor even though they were aware of it? Was there a broken handrail along the stairs that they failed to repair? Did they mop the floor just before showtime and neglect to put "Wet Floor" signs?

If you or a loved one suffered a slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall or other injury in a movie theater and you believe that the property owners, managers and/or staff could have prevented the conditions that caused your injury, it's wise to seek legal guidance. An experienced personal injury attorney can discuss your potential legal options for getting the compensation you need and deserve to help you heal and move forward.

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