Slip-and-fall accidents can cause severe injuries, and the nationwide impact is significant. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, 11.5 million emergency room visits per year are due to falls. A number of these have certainly occurred in grocery or retail stores.
Any accident is painful and stressful, but certain locations are more likely to result in a slip and fall or a twisted ankle. Although it may come as a surprise, grocery and retail stores are frequent locations for these incidents. With so many people entering, exiting, and working in the store, it is an accident-prone environment. Whether you misstep and fall on an object in the aisle, are struck by a falling box of merchandise, or get smashed by an automatic door, accidents in grocery and retail stores occur more frequently than you might think. In this blog post, we will discuss the common causes of accidents in grocery and retail stores, as well as what to do in the event of an accident.
Retail and grocery store owners in Pennsylvania have a legal obligation to protect their consumers from harm while they are in their establishments. When they fail to do so, a consumer may sustain serious or fatal injuries. In general, Pennsylvania establishments are liable for customer injuries. Therefore, if you were injured while shopping in a retail establishment, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses resulting from your injuries under Pennsylvania's premises liability laws.
Dangerous Conditions and Common Causes of Accidents at Grocery and Retail Stores
The most common causes of accidents in grocery or retail stores are typically things that become hazards and are the result of insufficient personnel or careless management. You are on the owner's property while in the store, and it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that you and all other customers can shop without concern of slipping, tripping, or falling. While some slips, falls, and other accidents are genuinely unavoidable or freak occurrences, the majority of grocery and retail store accidents are caused by the following:
- Puddles and wet floors without a safety sign
- Unsafe or dangerous parking lots
- Lack of suitable security
- Uneven carpeting or matting
- Cluttered aisles and walkways
- Overstocked shelves
- Insufficient security
- Unstable merchandise displays or merchandise stacked too high
- Poor lighting
- Insufficient signage
- Lack of fire or smoke alarms
- Spoiled/contaminated food and drinks
- Improperly built shelves/racks
- A lack of emergency exits, or unmarked/blocked/locked emergency exits
- Damaged steps or stairways
- Defective escalators/elevators
- Over occupation
- Any unmarked hazard
Slips and falls are the most common cause of injury for both customers and employees in a grocery store, despite the fact that hazards and water on the floor may seem like a minor concern. The parking grounds of grocery stores are also a common site for accidents. Accidents in the grocery store parking lot are caused by trips and falls, cart collisions, and inadequate signage.
Simply stated, Pennsylvania’s premises liability laws require property owners to exercise a certain level of care towards visitors.
Examples of Accidents That Can Occur in a Grocery or Retail Store
If dangerous circumstances remain present in a retail establishment, a variety of accidents may occur. Here are some examples:
- Crush accidents
- Exposure to hazardous substances / materials
- Slip and fall accidents
- Being struck by falling object(s)
- Trip and fall accidents
These accidents can result in a variety of severe or fatal injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Food poisoning and related illnesses
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Deep cuts
- Vision or hearing damage
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Soft tissue and organ injuries
What to Do in the Event of an Accident at a Grocery or Retail Store
It is essential to know what to do if you or a loved one are involved in an accident in a grocery or retail store. Despite the fact that the specifics may differ based on your location or the size of the store, there are a few things you should always do and avoid.
If you are involved in an accident in a grocery store, you need to:
- Ask to speak with a manager
- File an incident report with the store
- Obtain the store’s insurance information
- Take photos or videos to use as evidence
When you file an incident report, you have the right to request a copy for your insurance company or legal counsel. Additionally, if the store has security cameras, you can request to view footage from the time and location of your accident. If the incident occurred during store hours, it is possible that another customer witnessed it. Ask anyone nearby if they saw your accident, and obtain their contact information if they are prepared to share it. Make sure that you seek any necessary medical treatment, and that you inform your doctor or clinic of how, where, and when the accident occurred, as this information will be recorded in your file.
If you are involved in a grocery or retail store accident, avoid the following:
- Leaving the scene of the accident
- Discussing the accident with anyone at the store
- Yelling at any of the stores employees
- Allowing yourself to be talked into leaving and not filing an incident report with the store and speaking to a manger
Although it is never a good idea to delay necessary medical treatment, do not depart the scene of the incident until you are certain you have the necessary evidence and information and have spoken with a manager. The more you can accomplish on the day of the accident, the stronger your claim for compensation will be.
An accident at a grocery or retail store may be unfortunate and stressful, but lashing out at store employees or the manager can compromise your case. However, do not permit the store manager or employees to attempt to minimize your accident or resulting injuries. Avoid discussing your injuries with store employees and even companions until you have left the store. If you are alone and in need of medical assistance, ask the store manager or the nearest employee to promptly dial 911. Once you have been treated, you should search for a personal injury attorney in your area so they can start to build your case.
A Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Lawyer from Brandon J. Broderick Can Assist You Today
Serious slip-and-fall injuries are significantly traumatic and have far-reaching repercussions for victims and their families. Your life may have been turned upside down by physical agony and stress, and you may be facing significant financial losses due to medical debt and lost wages.
Although Pennsylvania law requires property owners to keep their premises reasonably safe from slip-and-fall hazards, the burden of proof lies with the injured party. This form of claim requires substantial evidence and the appropriate legal strategy to succeed. Brandon J. Broderick's knowledgeable slip-and-fall attorneys can help you protect your legal rights and hold negligent property owners accountable.
When you hire a personal injury attorney from Brandon J. Broderick, you can rely on a team that puts your needs first and fights for your best interests. We only collect payment for our services if we are successful in resolving your case. If we lose, you owe us nothing. Contact us for a complimentary consultation. We look forward to helping you overcome your accident.