The truth is that anybody can slip and fall anywhere – and it may not necessarily be anybody else’s fault. If you visit your local grocery store, planning on doing an ordinary day of shopping, you don’t expect to experience a slip-and-fall accident, but it is actually likely. Wet floors, faulty shelves and displays, or even just a temporary loss of balance wearing the wrong shoes can all lead to a fall. If this should ever happen to you, it could be a completely blameless accident. On the other hand, the store has a duty of care to ensure the safety of its shoppers, and your fall may have happened as a result of negligence. If negligence can be proven, then the management of the store can be held liable and you can demand compensation.
Will the Grocery Store Be Liable if You Slip and Fall?
It takes a careful examination of the circumstances surrounding a particular incident to determine whether or not the grocery store is liable. An employee could be busy mopping the floor and may have forgotten to place any warning signs. Maybe a damaged shopping cart is the culprit. Shelves could have been poorly packed, or the shelves themselves could be in bad condition, causing items and/or the shelf itself to collapse when you reach for it. These are just a few examples of circumstances that could lead to a successful lawsuit against a grocery store after a slip-and-fall accident. To prove that the store is liable, the burden is on you to prove that management was not complying with its duty of care to ensure customer safety.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall in a Store
If you should slip and fall during a trip to your favorite grocery store, the first thing you should do is resist the natural urge to stand up. Stay where you are and ask someone nearby to call a manager. If there are people around you, make sure they have noted your fall. Let the management representative see that you have fallen and have the testimony of bystanders to back you up.
Once a manager arrives, stand up if you can or if not, make sure that paramedics or medical transportation is arranged/called for so you can get needed medical attention promptly.
With everyone having a smart phone these days, there is no excuse not to take photos of the dangerous condition that you believe caused your fall and it is good the get the photos of your surroundings.
Start taking pictures of the area around you. Make sure that hazards such as wet floors or damaged shelves are clearly documented in your photos. Get the names and contact details of the management, staff, and all possible witnesses.
Even if you feel fine, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, to ensure that you don’t have any fractures or internal bleeding or other injuries. You will need to file an accident report with the grocery store to file a claim against the store’s insurance. You can do this immediately after the fall or after seeing your doctor. Try to obtain a copy of that store report before you leave!
Be sure to get copies of all medical documentation in relation to the fall.
If you are entitled to any compensation, contact a slip/trip and fall attorney as soon as possible.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall Outside a Store
If your fall should happen outside of the store, follow the same process outlined above. However, in this case, there is a stronger possibility that the store may not be liable. Depending on where you fall, some other party may be responsible. For example, the parking lot may be owned and maintained by someone other than the grocery store, meaning that whoever owns the lot would be the responsible party.
Can You Sue?
It is possible to sue a grocery store or other responsible party if you have a slip-and-fall accident. Whether you do actually have a case will depend on several variables, such as provable negligence and premises liability (the legal term that describes a property owner’s responsibility to ensure their property and customers are safe from potential injuries). The best course of action is to consult a personal injury lawyer, who will help you determine liability and take legal action if applicable.
Hire Sokoloff and Weinstein, P.A.
Sokoloff & Weinstein, P.A. provides legal services with a level of personal attention that makes clients feel comfortable and informed while dealing directly with a personal injury lawyer. We concentrate on personal injury claims, including slip and fall accidents, in Florida. If you believe you have sufficient cause to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact us and book a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.