Most of us visit grocery stores to purchase items we need. For a variety of reasons, slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are common in these retail establishments. For example, a shopper might slip on a puddle of water from a leaking freezer unit. Spilled liquids are just one of the common causes of accidents in grocery stores. No matter what leads to an injury, these mishaps are known as premises liability claims. When a property owner doesn’t keep their store safe for their customers and guests, a personal injury lawyer can assist victims in seeking compensation.
Grocery Store Dangers Are Everywhere
The most common type of accident is a slip and fall or a trip and fall, where a liquid or object causes someone to tumble to the ground. However, there are many other ways you can be injured inside and outside in accidents in a grocery store. Property owners and their employees must watch for dangers and correct them immediately to avoid putting visitors at risk.
Slip and Falls in Grocery Stores
Broken tiles or bunched-up floormats could cause someone to trip and suffer injuries. Customers are often looking for their groceries and not staring down at the floor. It’s easy to miss potential dangers on the ground and suffer a premises liability accident.
Puddles or slick surfaces are especially risky. Even when employees do their duty to keep areas clean by mopping, the damp floor is a hazard.
Products and Store Equipment
If products are stacked too high in a display, they could topple onto a customer. Heavy products are a particular problem and should be on lower shelves or on the floor. If stored higher up, they could break shelving or fall onto the person trying to lift them.
Malfunctioning electrical equipment can cause a shock hazard if wires contact a puddle or metal surfaces.
Automatic doors that don’t work are another issue. If a door isn’t working properly, it could fail to open, causing customers to walk into it. If it closes too soon, it could injure someone caught between the doors. When stores are large, customers may be hurt on escalators, stairs, or elevators.
Obstructions in the aisles
Most grocery stores stock their shelves overnight or in the early morning hours. If you’re an early bird shopper, you could be hurt by tripping over boxes or heavy dollies left in the aisles. Product displays that are poorly stacked or placed might cause you to bump them with your cart, knocking them over and causing injury.
Sidewalk and Parking Lot Hazards
Premises liability covers all the property owned by the grocery store, including the sidewalks and parking areas. Owners are liable for debris, potholes, ice, puddles, and other dangerous conditions that could injure their customers.
Proving Negligence and Fault in a Grocery Store Accident
Property owners have a duty of care to their customers and visitors. If you have been hurt in a slip and fall versus a trip and fall, you must establish that the owner failed in that duty and you were physically hurt as a result. Proving negligence is best done with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. A premises liability attorney will be able to determine the difference between a slip and fall versus a trip and fall.
Whether you are filing an insurance claim or a premises liability lawsuit, you must demonstrate the following conditions to show negligence:
- The owner did not keep the property in a fair and reasonably safe condition.
- The owner created or knew about the hazardous condition that led to your accident.
- The owner failed to rectify or warn customers about the hazard.
You must also show that you suffered an injury as a result and that you incurred damages from that injury.
Your attorney can help you gather evidence demonstrating that the property owner is at fault. Because a spill or other danger can be cleaned up after an accident, it’s important to gather evidence right away. Some common types of helpful documentation include:
- Photos and/or video of the hazard, your injuries, and the accident scene
- Store surveillance videos
- Witness statements
- Medical bills
- Store cleaning and maintenance records
- Receipts for all costs you experienced as a result of the accident
How Much is a Grocery Store Accident Claim Worth?
Each claim will be unique and depend on your specific circumstances. One recent record-setting award in Texas reached $1.32 million, which is unusual for grocery store claims; but many accident cases can result in large settlements when the damage is severe.
Your personal injury lawyer will assess your situation and examine the evidence available. The extent of the injuries you suffer and whether they are permanently disabling will be an important aspect of your case. The level of negligence on the part of the store owner and its employees will also factor into whether the case is decided in your favor.
Victims can claim both economic (medical bills, etc.) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages in a premises liability case. Some examples of these expenses include:
- ICU, ER, and surgery costs
- Doctor visits
- Medical devices or mobility aids
- Travel costs for treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring or disfigurement
If you experience a head injury, you could suffer brain damage and be unable to return to your normal life. You and your family would potentially need to plan for decades of care and treatment. Your attorney can help you understand how to pursue compensation for past, present, and future expenses. If you or someone you know was injured while shopping and need free legal advice, contact Premises Liability Attorney Julie Wolf today.