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Premises Liability and Grocery Store Accidents: What You Should and Should Not Do to Obtain Fair Compensation

All of us visit the local grocery store several times a month. Whether we’re there to pick up groceries for the week or just to grab a quick snack, none of us ever expect to get hurt while shopping. Countless people are injured in grocery store accidents, and the vast majority of grocery store incidents are caused by slip and falls. However, there are many other types of grocery store accidents besides slip and falls.

All grocery stores — from the mom and pop on the corner to the biggest chain retailers — are required by law to observe a duty of care to their customers. Safety is owed to every customer from the moment they enter the premises. If a customer trips over something, slips on the floor, or is injured in any way while on grocery store property, he or she may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

If you or a loved one suffered an accident at a grocery store, our team of expert Los Angeles premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are here to help. We have decades worth of experience handling premises liability cases and are confident that we will get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

To schedule a free consultation at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Premises Liability in Grocery Store Accidents

All property owners, regardless of whether they own a grocery store or a government building, are required to protect their guests from being injured on their property. Basic requirements include but are not limited to providing adequate security, proper lighting, and regular maintenance.

This responsibility, or duty of care, doesn’t mean that a property owner is responsible for every injury risk imaginable. A property owner’s duty of care applies primarily to dangers that are reasonably foreseeable. For example, if a grocery store employee leaves a stack of boxes in the middle of an aisle and someone trips over it, that’s clearly foreseeable.

If a property owner violates their duty of care, any resulting breach may legally constitute as negligence. Wet floors, missing floor mats, and other risk factors all count as examples of a grocery store’s negligence.

To put it in simple terms: negligence equals liability. If a property owner is found guilty of negligence, that means you, as the victim, are entitled to damages for your losses.

Common Types of Grocery Store Accidents

The most common type of grocery store accident is a slip and fall caused by a wet floor. If spills are not immediately mopped up, it’s very likely that an accident will occur. Slip and falls usually happen because there are no signs to warn shoppers about a potential hazard. The elderly are especially vulnerable to being severely injured because of a slip and fall. Fractured hips are common among older shoppers and can permanently disable a person, depending on the severity of the fall.

Falling objects are another common reason for an accident at a grocery store. A shopper may reach up for a can of soup on a high shelf and have other items fall on his or her head. In the worst cases, the whole shelf may fall on the person’s head, causing severe injuries or death.

Accidents aren’t limited to the store either. Some grocery store accidents happen in the parking lot. For example, a shopper may be injured by a shopping cart, or even another person. It’s not uncommon for a victim to be assaulted by another shopper in a grocery store parking lot, or even struck by his or her car.

More Common Causes of Grocery Store Injuries

  • Damaged shopping carts.
  • Missing or improperly positioned floor mats.
  • Spoiled or tainted food.
  • Defective entrance and exit doors.
  • Aisle obstructions.
  • Cracked or uneven parking lot pavement.

Building a Strong Injury Claim

No one expects to be injured in a grocery store, but knowing what to do in the event of an accident is crucial to building a strong claim.

  1. Ask for the manager: If you were hurt in a grocery store, ask for the manager immediately after an accident. For example, if you slipped on a pool of water, the manager needs to see where and how you fell.
  2. Request an incident report: Most major grocery stores are required to file an incident report with the date and time of the accident, the causes, and the customer’s contact information. Make sure to ask the manager for a copy of this report.
  3. Seek medical care: If you were seriously injured, please ask the manager to call 911. If you aren’t taken to a hospital, please see a doctor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Make sure that your medical provider knows when, where, and how you were hurt.
  4. Chat with witnesses: Family or friends can of course testify on your behalf, but an independent witness is always preferable. Some witnesses may refuse to get involved, but do your best to get the names and contact information of any available witnesses.
  5. Take photos: Many people have their cellphones on hand to take photos and videos of their surroundings. It’s important that you document the accident scene, and make sure your phone shows the date and time on any photos or videos that you take. For example, if you were struck by a malfunctioning door as you were leaving a grocery store, take a quick video of the malfunctioning door as it opens and closes to document the problem.
  6. Surveillance camera footage: Most grocery stores have surveillance cameras, so ask the manager to show you footage of your injury. Surveillance footage may show a unique angle of the accident that may be hard to contest.
  7. Request insurance information: Ask the grocery store manager for the store’s insurance company information. You should also make sure to get confirmation from the manager that the incident report has been submitted to the property owner. If you don’t hear back from the store owner or the insurance company, ask the manager to submit the incident report again.

What Not to Do After a Grocery Store Accident

Do not undermine yourself, or your injuries, by doing or saying the wrong thing after a grocery store accident.

  1. Do not leave the scene of the incident: After your fall, your first instinct could be to get out of the area as quickly as possible, which is a normal reaction. However, you need to make sure that you immediately report the accident to the grocery store manager and have them file an incident report.
  2. Do not talk: Avoid making any excuses or minimizing your injuries. Store workers may hear you and use anything you say against you.
  3. Do not delay seeking medical treatment: In the heat of the moment, you may feel perfectly fine after the incident. However, the affected body part could develop serious pain, bruising, or swelling hours or even days after the harsh fall. Make an appointment to get yourself examined to make sure you are okay. The doctor visit will be saved on a file, which can be used as a piece of evidence for your premises liability claim.

Our Team Is Here to Help

If you or a loved one was injured in a grocery store accident, our team of expert premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered, which includes medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our caring, compassionate, and experienced legal team.

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