Slip and falls occur rather frequently in grocery stores and supermarkets across Central Florida. Many of these falls are attributed to something simple like a spilled liquid, dropped food, or a bunched entrance mat. However, a fall—even from a short distance—can result in serious injuries.
If you are injured at a Florida supermarket or grocery store, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation from the responsible party. All stores have a duty of care or obligation to maintain their building and premises safe for customers, and this duty includes making sure the location is clear of hazards and other dangers. This also includes safely maintaining the parking lot, sidewalks, and walkways.
Under Florida Statute 768.0755, if the supermarket or grocery story had either actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition and failed to address it, they can be held liable for any injuries sustained as a result of this failure to protect their customers.
The key prevailing in a potential case is to have enough evidence to show that the supermarket or grocery store was negligent, that they failed to address any dangers they either knew about or should have reasonably known about, and that an injury occurred as a direct result of that negligence. The burden to prove all of this is on the injured victim.
Many grocery stores, especially the larger chains such as Albertsons, Walmart, and Publix, have security cameras all over the premises, inside and out. This security footage can provide valuable evidence in your case. Evidence and witnesses are crucial to winning your case, along with the expertise of a legal professional skilled in this area of law, who can maximize your recovery.
Important steps to take if you are injured at a Florida grocery store or supermarket:
- Take pictures of your injuries and the hazardous conditions that caused your fall.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw you fall.
- Speak with the manager on duty. It is important that the store knows what happened, why it happened, and how it happened. Most stores maintain reports prepared by managers regarding these types of incidents, which will include the date, time and other information needed to document the accident. Ask the manager for a copy of this report. If he or she does not provide it, your attorney can subpoena the document.
- Request a copy of the security footage from the store, showing the time before the accident, as well as the time during and after. If they do not provide this footage, it can be subpoenaed later.
It is also extremely important to receive medical attention, immediately. If you believe you have been seriously injured, tell the manager to call 911. If you are not serious injured, it is still recommended you be evaluated as soon as possible. Delaying medical treatment after a slip and fall can hurt your case if you decide to later pursue an injury claim. The store and their insurance company will look for any reason to deny or reduce your claim, and if they can show you were not injured as severely as you claim, using your failure to receive medical care after the accident against you, you may find yourself fighting a losing battle. After seeing your doctor, be sure to attend any recommended follow-up treatment and get copies of all medical bills and medical records to provide proof of your injuries.
Failing to receive medical care is not the only mistake that can be made in proving your case. Several other actions can hurt your case. For example, if you fall and are injured but leave before reporting it to management. Certain statements can also hurt your case, especially any type of admission of fault. These statements can include saying, “I am alright,” “I should have been more careful,” or “It is no one’s fault.” Statements indicating you were to blame, or the accident was not as serious as it was could be used against you later.
Grocery store owners have a legal obligation to maintain their premises and ensure it is safe for their customers. Unfortunately, businesses and establishments sometimes neglect basic safety protocols, which can lead to a slip and fall. If you are injured in a grocery store slip and fall, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and consult with an experienced Orlando grocery store slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected.