A 2010 Florida law makes it tougher for claimants who fall in a supermarket to recover damages. This change in the law was noted in a Tampa Bay Times article posted June 27, 2010.
Before 2010 injured people had to prove only that an out-of-place substance caused the accident. Injured people didn’t have to prove that the supermarket knew or should have known of the out-of-place substance. This standard of care was set in the case of Owens vs. Publix. Publix is a large Florida supermarket chain with stores in many southern states. Florida is the state with the most Publix stores. Many of these Publix stores are in the Tampa Bay area.
Because of the new law, in 2010 and subsequent years, injured people will have to prove that the supermarket knew or should have known about the substance that caused the fall and failed to clean it up. According to the article, retailers claim this makes proving cases fairer. Personal injury lawyers claim that since the supermarket is in the best position to investigate the accident, that the new law is decidedly not fair.
What to do if you Slip and Fall in a Supermarket
- Protect yourself. Get up slowly. Address your injuries
- Try to determine the reason for the fall. Possible reasons include:
- A wet or slippery surface. Liquids on polished floors can be especially hard to detect.
- Some object on the floor such as fallen merchandise or part of fallen merchandise may have caused the fall.
- Bad lighting could have been a factor.
- A failure to have warning signs.
- There could be something wrong with the floor. Bad tiles for example.
- Whatever the reason – try to determine if the problem that caused the fall was something that was present for a while. The longer the store should have known about the situation the stronger case you’ll have.
- If you have a cell phone with a camera try to take a picture.
- Determine where the fall happened.
- Most accidents happen near the entrance because water is tracked in from the outside.
- Accidents also happen in the product aisles because of debris or leaks from the products.
- See if anyone saw you fall. Ask them what they saw and get their contact information (name, phone number and address).
- Speak to the manager of the supermarket.
- Keep in mind that the store manager will probably take a written statement.
- Before the manager sends someone to clean up the area – take a good look at the area to, again, remember or determine, why you fell.
- Get the names of the manager and of the person who cleans up the floor.
- See a doctor as soon as possible. Doctors can always treat your condition better if you see them sooner. And, if you wait, you may have to explain why you waited. Your doctor will ask how the accident happened. So, your answer should be consistent with what you told the store manager. Any instructions from your doctor should be in writing so you have a record. See the doctor until you’re 100% better.
- The elderly are the most likely to fall.
- Common injuries in supermarket slip and falls are:
- Back injuries
- Broken bones and fractures.
- Head injuries
- Knee injuries including tears.
- Neck injuries
- Sprains – such as ankle or hand sprains.
- Liability. The main keys in supermarket cases are showing that:
- There was an improper condition
- The supermarket was aware or should have been aware of the improper condition
- The supermarket failed to take proper action to correct the improper condition.
- Damages. If you can prove the supermarket was responsible then you’re entitled to damages for the following:
- Medical bills – past and future. These bills includes doctor visits, hospitalization if needed, medications and medical equipment such as a cane or a wheelchair.
- Lost wages
- Any property damage such as a broken heel requiring new shoes.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
How our law firm can help?
If anyone you know is has suffered because of an accident in a supermarket let our law firm help you get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case. Our team of lawyers works with medical professionals, valuation experts, technical experts and other lawyers. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a death please call us at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT (1-888-936-3264) or email us at: [email protected].