A floor is wet with spilled juice. There’s a patch of black ice on the sidewalk. You drop a carton of eggs and step in the gooey mess. If you take a tumble and end up in the hospital, does the grocery store have to reimburse you for your medical bills? What if you don’t have any serious injuries at the time, but end up seeking medical help later for lingering pain associated with your fall?
Grocery Stores Need to Be Safe
Grocery store owners are responsible for providing a shopping environment that does not pose undue risk to shoppers—whether through wet floors, hard-to-see obstacles, or unstable product displays. Simple negligence, rather than willful construction of unsafe conditions, is enough to shift liability to a store owner. Especially given that shelving and displays are crafted to draw shoppers’ attention, it is not reasonable to expect anyone to search the floor for hazards.
It’s in grocery stores’ interest to get customers to look at their shelves, which means they must keep floors reasonably clear of obstacles so people can walk around safely. Likewise, because customers are free to browse and inspect spillable and breakable products, store managers must expect that spills will occur, and institute practices that allow for quick cleanup. This expectation doesn’t go so far as to require any hazards to be cleared right away—after all, the employees have a large amount of store to keep clean, and other duties as well. But, if you can prove that an employee has or could have seen a spill that then caused an injury, you may well have a case.
Weather patterns can also constitute hazards that store owners must be aware of. Rain, snow, and slush can be tracked into stores and, if left to puddle, may cause slips and falls. Icy conditions on store premises—think sidewalks and parking lots—must also be handled to prevent customer accidents. If a hazardous patch is easily visible—say, a large mass of ice in the parking lot or a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign near a door, a store owner may argue that they have done their due diligence to prevent customer injury.
Need Help with a Slip & Fall?
Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. has helped many clients receive settlements after being injured by a slip & fall. If you believe you were hurt due to the negligence of a store owner or property manager, let us help you determine if you have a case. You may be able to recover the compensation you need to pay bills, substitute for lost wages, and cover other expenses.
Contact us online to schedule a free consultation or call us at (732) 709-4400.