Florida Supermarket companies go to great lengths to provide a pleasant and safe shopping experience for their customers. They have frequent company inspections to check for any possible hazards. Despite these efforts, accidents do occur in supermarkets quite frequently. This is due to the huge volume of customers, the nature of the products as well as the way the products are handled and displayed. Supermarket injuries are typically caused by the following:
- Slippery floors – Leaking refrigeration cases, produce sprays without the proper floor mats, water, especially on rainy days or from mopping, liquid spills from leaking or broken product containers.
- Transitory objects on aisle floors – Product overstock, products left on floors while shelves are being stocked, items that fall from shelves, produce that falls or is dropped are all potential dangers.
- Employee carelessness – Large pallets carrying heavy merchandise are often pushed or pulled through the store during busy hours. These may strike a patron knocking them to the floor, or into shelves and displays.
- Damaged Pavement – Potholes, cracked, raised or buckled pavement. Shopping carts can obstruct vision as well as poor lighting at night. Rainwater fills holes and makes them hard to see.
- Defective doors, damaged shopping carts, loose railings and other faulty equipment can lead to injury.
- Food poisoning from perishables – This is difficult to prove without the suspected product being saved, tested and matched to the bacterial strain found in the sickened individual – unless there were other cases involving the same product at the same time.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Supermarket
Slipping, or tripping, and falling are by far the most common causes of supermarket injuries. When a person falls in a public place, the first adrenal reaction is to get up quickly and walk away to avoid embarrassment. This is the worst thing to do. First of all, that adrenalin may be hiding the pain of a serious injury. Stay where you are and summon the store manager. He will take your information and report what happened. Look for any witnesses. Someone may come forward and say they almost fell in the same place. Strangers make the best witnesses as they are unbiased unlike family members; although many people will not want to get involved. If you have a cell phone take pictures of what caused the fall from several angles.
If you feel you are seriously injured have the manager call 911 or call yourself. Do not call 911 if you are not seriously injured and are able seek medical attention on your own. You may be responsible for the cost of the emergency EMS response. The EMS personnel will write a report that will help to establish the time and date of your accident and the related injury, as will the emergency room. Do not give any statement to the insurance company of the supermarket. You are not required to give them a statement by law despite what they tell you. They are not visiting you in the hospital because they want to help you either. That recorded statement could ruin any claim you may have.
Proving Your Claim
As of July 1, 2010 a change in the law made liability in a supermarket slip and fall accident case more difficult to prove. Florida Statute §768.0755 regarding premises liability for transitory foreign substances within a business establishment, requires a business invitee (customer) prove that the business had actual or constructive knowledge that the hazardous condition existed and remediation should have been applied. Proving constructive knowledge may be through circumstantial evidence which shows that:
- The business should have known of the existence of the hazardous condition through the exercise of ordinary care due to the length of time that it existed.
- The condition was a regular occurrence and was, for that reason, foreseeable.
For a free legal consultation, call 833-552-7274
For example if a customer dropped a wet lettuce leaf on the floor and the next shopper to pass by stepped on it and slipped, there was no way anyone working in the store would have known about it and there was no liability. However if the produce manager saw it and allowed it to remain as it got repeatedly stepped on, the liability shifts to the business. If a refrigerator was known to leak water and was routinely patched improperly, it was a known, regular occurrence that should have been handled professionally. If a perfectly good unit suddenly sprung a leak and someone slipped it is not the fault of the store, however blame may be placed on the equipment manufacturer.
It is the responsibility of any business to maintain the premises in a safe manor and to warn of any potential hazards as with the placement of wet floor signs. It is their duty to take steps to learn of any potential hazards as with inspections and follow up on any reports of dangerous conditions. We have all heard the call to action “Maintenance to aisle three with a mop.” If maintenance does not respond in a reasonable time and management does not follow up there lies the potential for a lawsuit.
Your Case Evaluation
A slip and fall in a supermarket or anywhere can lead to injuries that are minimal, like soft tissue injuries, or serious, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries and broken bones. There are dozens of variables that can affect the value of your case such as the severity of the injury, your doctor versus their doctor, pre-existing conditions, your age, your income and even your marital status. That is why it is important to retain the services of a premises liability lawyer who has the experience in knowing what your case is really worth. You can collect for current and future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering. The supermarket injury attorney will have the resources go the distance, if necessary, against the insurance companies and their large law firms which represent the big supermarket chains in Florida. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is that law firm. We have won large settlements for our clients in cases against retail giants. Reach out to us today if you have received injuries in a supermarket. There is no cost for you initial consultation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765