When you head to the grocery store, your plan may be to take your time, start at one end of the store and walk up and down the aisles, reading labels until you find yourself ready to head for check-out. Or, you may park outside for just a moment so you can run in quickly and only pick up an item or two. One thing you do not expect to happen is to slip and fall.
Slipping and Falling is Serious Business
Every year, more than 8 million people are treated in emergency rooms for falls in general. Approximately 1 million of those are slip and fall accidents. Fractures are some of the more serious injuries suffered by those who slip and fall, with hip fractures being the most debilitating. Some may fall so hard they suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and others even die.
Some of the most common examples of causes of falls in grocery stores include:
- A wet floor with no warning sign.
- General debris left on the floor and not promptly cleaned up.
- Produce left on the floor after falling there.
- Displays falling over onto the floor and not being fixed.
Property owners and managers, including grocery store owners and managers, have an obligation to keep their premises safe for those who are shopping. When they fail to comply with their duty, those who are injured may be able to collect for their damages.
Elements of a Slip and Fall Case
If you slipped and fell at a grocery store, you may think it is a no-brainer and you will collect damages. That is not always the case. If you were injured, you have a heavy burden and must prove that:
- The owner or manger knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.
- The owner or manager did not exercise reasonable care in correcting the condition or warning you about it.
- The failure to correct or warn you about the dangerous condition was the cause of your injury.
- You suffered damages as a result of your injury.
Damages refer to your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs you incurred as a result of your injury. Some people have collected large awards or settlements as a result of a slip and fall. Others have not, generally because they cannot prove the owner or manager knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, or they cannot prove that reasonable care was not exercised in remedying the dangerous condition.
Slip and Fall Cases: Losers and Winners
An example of how difficult it may be to win your slip and fall case is given in a recent Georgia case: A woman was injured when she slipped and fell after walking across a freshly mopped floor. Although this happened in a nail salon where the woman had just received a manicure and pedicure, the same principal applies to a slip and fall in a grocery store.
The nail salon owner testified that the woman had watched the floor being mopped and chose to walk across it anyway. The court agreed with the salon owner, noting the injured woman had knowingly assumed the risk of danger by walking across a floor she knew had just been mopped. The owner had proven:
- The injured woman had actual knowledge of the danger.
- She understood and knew the risks of walking across the wet floor.
- By walking across the wet floor, she voluntarily exposed herself to the risk of danger.
On the other hand, a jury awarded a Georgia woman $2.8 million after she was injured in a slip and fall at a Kroger’s grocery store and the award was upheld on appeal. The woman had been shopping with her husband and daughter when she slipped on the wet floor in the floral department. Based on evidence presented at trial, Kroger should have known there was water on the floor in that department and took no measures to clean it up.
Winning your slip and fall case, either by way of settlement or at trial, depends on the specific circumstances of your case as well as on the skill and experience of your attorney. If you were injured in a slip and fall case, contact our attorneys at Georgia Trial Attorneys at Kirchen & Grant for a free consultation.