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12/07/2021

You were running short on milk and eggs and decided to visit the nearby grocery store, a quaint, well-stocked place. You made your way through the endless maze of shelves stacked with items, picking them up where needed, and then the next moment, you hit hard against the marble floor.

One of the sections had been recently mopped but there was no wet-floor signage anywhere, no way for you to know that the area was off-limits.

It can happen in any number of ways, the aforementioned is just a generic example of how slip and fall accidents can be highly unpredictable for the victims and cause lots of damage. The physical toll alone is unbearable without the added financial and emotional pressures.

But what can you do about it?

In this article, we’ll examine slip and fall accidents in general and also discuss things specifically in context of grocery stores in Houston, Texas.

Who is liable for your damages, what can you claim for your losses, and how can a personal injury lawyer make a difference for your case?

Read on to find out.

a store in houston with a wet floor sign

Slip & Fall Accidents – Where & How?

This much a no-brainer: people can’t know if a section of the floor is wet unless there are easily visible warning signs to guide them about it. If a floor has been recently mopped or if something slipped on it by accident, the business owner owes it to their visitors to warn them of the risk ahead.

Cordoning off the area for some time until the issue is resolved can save lots of hassle for both parties.

Some of the most common reasons for slip and fall accidents in retail stores include:

  • Spilled liquids on the floor
  • A wet/slippery floor, after mopping/cleaning
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Slippery tiles
  • Unsuitable use of cleaning products (i.e. if the cleaner used a substance that made the floor glossier but added to its slipperiness as well)
  • Dangerous stairs
  • Poor lighting

And the list goes on…

In most cases, the onus is on the business owner and the store manager to ensure that the premises are perfectly safe. If there is some hazard that people need to know about, they should make sure that it is indeed the case.

Remember, liability for the owner and the store manager will only apply if the issue was something they knew about or should have known about. For instance, if someone spilled something on the floor and this caused an accident immediately afterward, then the case will be much different.

Accidents happening within the premises of the grocery store will be covered by the umbrella of business liability.

Who’s Responsible For Slip & Fall Accidents In Grocery Stores?

Short answer, the business owner and the manager.

However, things are not that simple. The catastrophic injury law binds you to prove the liability for injuries if you want to get compensated for your losses. The first part of establishing negligence is showing that you had a "visitor status," i.e. you were inside the grocery store legally.

This should not be a sweat.

However, the next part is tricky. You can’t go on and blame the incident on the store owner unless you can prove that they knew of the issue/unreasonable risk of harm but did nothing to resolve it (failed to show reasonable care), i.e. a breach in the duty of care that they owed you.

This may be possible in some cases but very difficult in others.

For instance, if the floor was mopped recently but no wet floor sign was placed then you have a strong case, but in the case of an accidental spillage, things will be a bit harder to prove.

Legally speaking, the store owner will only be held responsible if the dangerous condition was clear, they were aware of it, and could’ve acted in time to avoid the incident.

And, this is where the insurance company will make things even more problematic. The adjuster may try to blame the incident partly (or entirely) on you – yes, they do that more often than you think, nothing personal, they’re just doing their job, it’s business.

Never accept any part of the blame, however, if they can prove (based on something you said or did) that you did indeed have a role in the occurrence, your sum will be slashed according to your share in the fault.

It is thus best to let an experienced personal injury attorney handle this whole part of establishing negligence and negotiating a financial settlement on your behalf – this way, you’ll get compensated fairly and avoid undermining your position in the case.

Types Of Damages Sustained By Slip And Fall Accidents

Slip and fall injuries are tough even though it may not seem like much of a big deal, it is only after someone has gone through this ordeal do they realize just how nightmarish it is.

a mother and son are grocery shopping in a houston store

First of all, a human being does not need to fall from a height for the impact to be fatal, a simple slip and fall can also, under certain circumstances, cause wrongful death. For instance, if an elderly person hits their head hard against the floor, they may not live to see the next sunrise.

While in most cases, slip and fall incidents don’t result in fatalities, the injuries are still severe and can even incapacitate the injured party for days. You can expect any of the following, or a combination of such types of slip and fall injuries:

  • Superficial head injury or a traumatic brain injury
  • Back injury (possibly extending inwards and causing spinal cord injuries)
  • Wrist injury
  • Hip injuries/fracture
  • Neck injuries either in the muscles or the bones
  • Shoulder and limb injuries
  • Knee and elbow injuries

And so on…

However, in some cases, things can become even more complicated than these common injuries.

For instance, if the slip and fall victim is an elderly or pregnant woman, the damages can be much worse. A pregnant slip and fall case may result in either miscarriage or severe physical damage to the unborn child.

Moreover, the emotional distress that the injury victims have to face in such situations is also unbearable.

These injuries will not only cost a substantial sum in medical expenses but also keep the sufferer off their jobs for some time (lost wages), and may even necessitate some extra expenses which wouldn’t have been an issue otherwise.

These are the economic damages and are all measured in terms of the amount of money that the accident cost you. However, the physical pain and mental anguish caused by these injuries cannot be measured on a metric scale and has no standard monetary value.

They are henceforth placed under the canopy of non-economic damages and are mostly calculated by assigning a multiple between 1.5 and 5 to the former sum.

What To Do If You Get Hurt In A Grocery Store?

This section is not specific to slip and fall accidents but to every type of premises liability claim. If you get injured because of someone’s negligence, don’t just limp away from the site. There’s a lot you can do, even at this stage, to help your case.

Start by photographing the whole scene to gather evidence showing the hazardous conditions.

You should also approach any eyewitnesses and request them to share their contact information with you. Also, be mindful of the way you say, don’t act all Rambo, and pretend you were not hurt at all, instead, avoid saying anything that might compromise your case.

Seek medical attention soon afterward and keep a track of your losses.

You then need to document all the evidence, i.e. the medical costs, loss of income, extra expenses, a journal for your pain and suffering, and so on.

And most importantly, you need to seek legal consultation as soon as possible, be sure to avoid discussing your case with people or posting anything on social media in the meantime. Once you’ve explored your legal options, have your lawyer take charge.

The settlement sum will depend on the intensity of your losses, thus the more you had to suffer, the more you’ll get.

Establishing negligence on part of the store owner or manager can be tricky in some cases. But even the most straightforward cases can go horribly wrong if you mess up – never handle personal injury claims on your own, you may inadvertently undermine your position.

If you’re approached by the insurance adjuster of the liable party, be sure not to give a statement (just share the basic details, nothing more) until you’ve discussed the matter with an accident attorney.

a kart sits on a houston grocery store aslise

As soon as something like this happens to you or a loved one, be sure to call the competent legal team at the Calhoun Meredith law firm for a free initial consultation and to plan your approach to the case. Our premises liability attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means that you’ll only have to pay if you win.

Moreover, since we deal with all of our cases with apt professionalism, you can rest assured that your legal representation is in able hands.

Call us today for more information!

Consulta Gratis
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