What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents at Grocery Stores?
Running to the grocery store or supermarket for necessities is one of the most common activities nearly everyone must do. Some make multiple visits per week. Lists in hand, most of us are focused the best path through the store and what we need to purchase without giving a thought to the potential dangers we may encounter.
All property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment, addressing problems such as wet floors to protect their customers from harm. From the store layout to the type of items sold to the large number of people who visit each day, grocery stores can be one of the most inherently dangerous places to visit if not properly maintained. Common causes for grocery store slip and fall accidents include:
- Produce and packaged items falling from shelves, dropped or knocked over by customers or staff.
- Damaged or punctured packaging, broken jars and bottles, and leaking items.
- Wet floors due to the weather, spills, misters, leaking freezers, floral department, overflowing sinks and toilets, and mopping and other cleaning efforts involving liquids.
- Lack of, broken, or missing handrails, stairway tread, and lighting both inside and outside the store.
- Malfunctioning entry and exit doors and faulty or broken doors on bathrooms and stalls, dairy, and frozen food compartments.
- Missing, worn, bunched, or poorly and improperly placed rugs and floor mats.
- Unattended boxes and equipment in store aisles and other trafficked areas.
- Uncovered or un-taped electrical cords and cables on the floor and other pathways taken by customers.
- Parking lots, sidewalks, and handicapped ramps that have not been cleared of ice and snow.
- Broken and damaged shopping carts.
- Not properly marking and sealing off areas under construction or repair.
- Lack of or misleading signage alerting to dangerous conditions, such as wet floors.
What Are Some Common Injuries in Grocery Store Accidents?
Depending on the situation leading to the fall, slip and fall accidents at grocery stores can cause major personal injury, particularly to the elderly, the handicapped, and small children. Some common injuries include:
- Cracked, fractured, or broken limbs, hips, pelvis, hands, wrists, ankles, feet, and head.
- Head wounds including cuts, bruises, punctures, and fractured skulls or eye sockets.
- Spinal cord or back injuries.
- Head trauma such as concussion or traumatic brain injury.
- Lacerations, punctures, and pinching or crushing injuries, typically of the hands.
What Should I Do if I Am Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident at the Grocery Store?
Accidents in grocery stores range from slight to severe and can have lasting results that affect your quality of life and ability to work. You may experience hardships from medical bills, loss of wages, and possible permanent disability depending on the nature of your accident. You are entitled to compensation and medical care if your accident is the result of negligence by the store owner or staff. It is best to start documenting the accident as soon as it happens to protect yourself, by taking action with the following:
- Seek medical care: In serious injuries, contact emergency first responders to treat you and transport you to the hospital or ask someone else to contact them if you are unable. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, it is important to obtain an evaluation from a medical professional within the first 48 hours. Many injuries, such as head trauma or internal bleeding, may not present for hours or even days and can have severe consequences if not properly addressed. It is also imperative to have a medical evaluation for your claim against the store. Failing to do so may lead to dismissal of your claim for undocumented injuries.
- Report the accident: Request to speak to the owner or store manager to report your accident and what caused it. Owners are generally required to file an accident report with their insurance company, usually within 24 hours. Alerting the owner or manager to your accident and the cause is also imperative to your claim, and you should review the report at the scene, if possible, and request a copy after it has been filed by the store.
- Document everything: If you are physically able, take photos or video of the accident. Include your injuries; what caused the injury; and conditions, such as a wet floor, that led to the accident. Gather statements, names, and contact information from the store owner or manager and any staff and other witnesses. Also ask for them to share any photos or videos they may have taken at the time of your accident with you. Make note of and take photos of any security cameras inside or outside the store that would have captured the accident to request copies of the footage.
- Keep records: Maintain detailed records of everything, including accident reports, witness statements, medical bills, lost wages, and any other documentation related to your accident. These will be pertinent to your claim against the store.
- Hire a lawyer: Slip and fall accidents in the grocery store can be complex and may be the responsibility of one or more people, including the property owner, staff member, and even another customer’s negligence. As a result of your accident, you are entitled to present and future medical costs related to the injury, loss of income, disability compensation, home health care costs, pain and suffering, and other expenses. Obtaining a personal injury attorney with extensive experience in claims against stores and insurance companies is essential for you to receive the best compensation for which you are entitled.
Highland Park Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Injured in Slip and Fall Accidents
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at the grocery store because of someone else’s negligence, the experienced Highland Park slip and fall lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will advocate for you so that you receive the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-537-8570 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.