Philadelphia is home to many nice grocery stores including Wegmans, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. However, grocery stores can be a minefield of slip and fall accidents. Customers are knocking fruit off the stands, breaking glass bottles of oil, wine or spaghetti sauce, and there is no section in a grocery store that is free of the risk of a slip and fall accident
So, who pays for the damages when someone falls? We’ve all joked about someone slipping in a store and getting a million-dollar settlement, but does it work that easy?
The answer is no. In fact, slip and fall cases are some of the hardest to prove because it’s not enough to show that the victim slipped on something on the floor and was hurt, rather it must be shown that the owner/company was negligent.
Proof in Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents:
The key evidence in a slip and fall in a grocery store is not the piece of watermelon on the floor—although that’s important—rather its any evidence that showed the owner did something or failed to do something and was careless and thus negligent.
To prove a slip and fall accident was caused by the negligence of the premise’s owner, the injured person must show one of these three conditions:
- That the owner knew of the dangerous condition and did nothing to fix it.
- In these cases, the owner didn’t cause the condition but know of it and did nothing. It’s essential that the injured person prove that the owner was given notice of the condition but didn’t clean or fix it in a reasonably timely manner.
- That the owner should have known a dangerous condition existed and didn’t take steps to fix the condition.
- When no one gives the owner of the premises notice, it is still incumbent on the owner to look out for dangerous conditions. For example, if the owner didn’t routinely check for spills and hazards in a grocery store, then when one occurred and the owner never knew, then he or she could be held liable for injuries.
- That the owner negligently created the dangerous condition.
- Sometimes the owner might have spilled the substance or negligently repaired a step on a stairway, and if this spill or negligent repair caused the injury, then the owner might be liable.
The legal standard in civil case is the level of proof needed to make a successful claim. In personal injury claims, the injured must show that the owner didn’t live up to their duty to keep others on their property safe. To determine that, the law looks at what a reasonable owner would do under the same conditions.
This means that a reasonable shop owner wouldn’t spill soap on the entrance floor and then just leave it. Or that a reasonable mall owner wouldn’t ignore a notice that light fixture in the middle of the mall was dangling and might fall and hurt someone.
Common Types of Wet Floor Slip and Falls:
The grocery store is the most common and obvious, but there are circumstances where wet or slippery floors can cause an accident. Some of them are:
- Store Entranceways: Rain, snow and ice can be tracked in by customers making the store entrance a slip and fall hazard.
- Eating Areas: Sometimes grocery stores have sit-in tables for prepared food. These can be a source of a slip and fall as customers spill drinks and leave food on the floor.
- Produce Displays: One of the areas of the most risk is the produce department. Fruit displays are often made in pyramids or in areas slanted downward so customers can access the produce which can easily fall to the floor.
- Aisles: Any product isle can be a slip and fall zone. Items are displayed on shelves, and customers are pushing and pulling and sliding the items around and spills and drops happen.
- Leaks: Refrigerator condenser lines, pressurized water lines and drains are some of the areas that can leak liquid out onto the floor creating a slip and fall hazard.
If any of these are caused by the negligence of the owner or manager of the premises where the wet floor accident occurred, then the victim would have a claim for injuries.
For a look at the dangers at the different stores in Philadelphia and for more information on each store click below:
Defenses to a Wet Floor Slip and Fall Claim:
The law tries to balance the everyday risk people take in going into a grocery store with the responsibility of the store owner to keep the place safe. Under Pennsylvania law, if a store takes reasonable steps to make the store safe, then when someone falls and is injured, the store owner might not be made liable.
How does this work? If something is spilled, and the store owner takes reasonable steps to clean up the hazard, but someone slips in the meantime, then the law might determine that the owner is not responsible.
Philadelphia Grocery Store Injury Lawyer:
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall, you need to talk to someone who has experience in making successful claims. You need a Philadelphia Slip and Fall Attorney. Someone who is going to be on your side and can make the system work for you. The insurance companies and store owners go through these claims all the time, and they are experienced at finding ways to pay you little or nothing.
At The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., we’ve handled many slip and fall cases. Insurance companies routinely deal with these cases, but it’s possible that this is your first—and hopefully only—one. They know how to pay you as little as possible or none at all and will often try to blame you for your injuries.
Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation after any type of accident which resulted in a serious injury.