If you suffered slip and fall injuries in a grocery store or big-box retailer, it may be easy to overlook your injuries. However, once the medical bills start rolling in, many accident victims find themselves looking for ways to help cover their accident-related expenses. Grocery stores are legally required to provide a safe space for shoppers and, when they fail to do so, they can and should be held accountable. Pursuing legal action after a grocery store slip and fall accident is not only your right, but it also encourages grocery stores to take their duties seriously. In this way, bringing a claim may help ensure the safety of others who visit the store in the future.
Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents Liability
As a general rule, all property owners owe those who enter their land a duty of care. A property owner’s duties to a particular guest depend on the reason for the guest’s visit. In the context of grocery stores, shoppers are all considered “invitees.”
Grocery stores and other businesses owe invitees the highest duty of care. In Kentucky and Tennessee, this requires the store to cure any known hazards that put customers at risk. In addition, the law requires grocery stores to take affirmative efforts to identify latent hazards that neither management nor customers may be aware of. For example, this is why you see grocery store clerks frequently walking down the aisle; they are conducting a period check to ensure there are no hazards that could cause slip and fall accidents in a grocery store.
After a slip and fall accident in a grocery store, an injured shopper can bring a slip and fall lawsuit against the store. To succeed in their claim, the shopper must prove the following elements:
- There was a dangerous condition in the grocery store;
- Grocery store management knew or should have known about the hazard; and
- The store’s management had a reasonable opportunity to cure the hazard or warn customers of its presence.
Although not technically an “element” of a slip and fall case, the hazard causing the plaintiff’s injuries cannot be “open and obvious.” An open and obvious hazard is one that a reasonable person would notice and take care to avoid. The idea is that the law wants to incentivize customers to pay attention to where they are going. So, if a customer fails to notice an open and obvious hazard, in the eyes of the law, their injuries are not necessarily due to the grocery store’s negligence.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in a Grocery Store
Grocery stores are not generally considered to be dangerous places. However, there are quite a few hazards that may confront shoppers. Some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in a grocery store include:
- Broken floor tiles,
- Bunched-up carpeting,
- Dangerous escalators,
- Defective automatic doors,
- Defective stairs,
- Electrical wires running through the aisle,
- Merchandise in the aisle,
- Missing handrails,
- Poor lighting,
- Spilled food or liquid,
- Stray shopping carts, and
- Tracked-in rain or snow.
Of course, these are just some of the potentially dangerous hazards shoppers may encounter. However, any dangerous condition that causes a shopper to slip and fall may form the basis of a grocery store lawsuit.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Those who suffered injuries in a fall know that the damage caused by a slip and fall accident can be severe. Certainly, some falls result only in a bruised ego and minor injuries. However, in many cases, accident victims can suffer debilitating, lifelong injuries.
Some of the most common slip and fall injuries include:
- Back and spine injuries;
- Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries;
- Injuries to the spinal discs;
- Knee and elbow injuries;
- Nerve damage;
- Soft tissue damage; and
- Wrist injuries.
These injuries cause accident victims to suffer not only economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost income, but also non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are those that provide accident victims with compensation for the emotional and psychological impact that the accident had on their lives. Common examples of non-economic damages in a grocery store slip and fall lawsuit include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Decreased quality of life, and
- Loss of familial relationships.
It is essential that accident victims establish the full extent of both their economic and non-economic damages to ensure a full and fair recovery.
Do You Need a Slip and Fall Lawyer to Sue a Grocery Store?
There is no requirement that accident victims work with an attorney to bring a claim against a grocery store. However, the assistance of an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Tennessee or Kentucky will make the process easier and may increase an accident victim’s chances of success. Injury attorneys frequently bring these cases and know exactly what to expect, both from the grocery store and—more importantly— the store’s insurance company.
When a shopper files a claim against a grocery store, the store’s insurance company will almost always be the party defending the lawsuit. This means that accident victims must be prepared to go up against the insurance company’s legal team. The sole job of these attorneys is to minimize an insurance company’s liability. Often, this means the insurance company will blame an accident victim for being negligent or argue that their injuries were not as serious as they claim. An injury lawyer can help injured shoppers prepare for and defend against these allegations.
Have You Been Injured in a Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries after falling at a grocery store, reach out to Batson Nolan PLC. At Batson Nolan, PLC, we have a long history of successfully representing accident victims in all types of injury claims. Since 1860, we’ve worked hard to earn a reputation as an ethical and effective legal practice, taking pride in every case we handle. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, reach out to Batson Nolan, PLC today at 931-647-1501. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.