In New York, most falls in grocery stores occur due to the negligence of grocery store owners. In these cases, a premises liability attorney may be able to help victims recover the compensation needed for medical costs, lost wages and other damages relating to their injuries.
What is a Slip & Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents occur when a person loses their balance and falls to the ground as a direct result of an unsafe condition (i.e. snow, oil, water, etc.). This can result in several injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken hips
According to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), fall injuries are rarely full-on accidents and are more often preventable occurrences. Furthermore, some populations are naturally more at risk for slip and fall accidents and injuries. Recent NYSDOH data shows that those over the age of 65 are most vulnerable for severe injuries due to pre-existing health conditions and decreased average bone density.
Difference Between Slip vs. Trip and Falls
Someone who plans to file a lawsuit for falling in a grocery store first needs to determine whether their fall was a “slip” or “trip” accident.
Slip and fall accidents typically involve a person falling backwards after stepping on something that makes their leg “slip” suddenly forward and out from under them. Because slip and falls typically involve landing on their backside, injuries to the back, neck and skull are common. Trip and fall accidents, on the other hand involve a person’s body being falling forwards after one’s foot catches on, or abruptly hits an object in front of them. These falls typically result in injuries to knees, wrists, and arms, which people instinctively use to catch themselves when falling forward.
If someone falls on their side, whether the accident can be defined as a “slip” or “trip” depends on whether their leg shot outwards in front (slip) or behind them (trip) before falling.
To build a successful case, those who file claims for a fall accident must know the difference between slipping and tripping. It is crucial to make sure accident descriptions are consistent and lines up with all available evidence. So, filing a claim for a “slip” and fall, while surveillance footage and medical records show a “trip” and fall accident could make all the difference in winning or losing a case.
How Do Slip & Fall Accidents Occur in Grocery Stores?
Though slip and fall accidents may occur almost anywhere, many of them happen on corporate or business properties. In most cases, slip and fall accidents occur because of an unsafe condition on a property. If the dangerous condition could have been remedied before the accident, the victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the business owners responsible.
Grocery stores like Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s—as well as larger department stores like Walmart that have grocery departments—regularly mop and wax their floors. This can cause slippery conditions when not given the appropriate amount of time to dry. Spills and messes are also common occurrences in grocery stores that pose hazards for unwary customers.
In either case, business owners are responsible for placing proper signs around any potential hazard so that customers can easily avoid them, preventing the risk of injury. Failing to do so can result in business owners being held liable in any consequential slip-and-fall lawsuit.
Grocery Store Slip & Fall Cases
In a grocery store slip and fall case, victims and their attorneys are responsible for proving:
- That the owner of the property or the company in charge of store operations was negligent and
- That the negligence led to their injuries
For instance, a store employee must be proven to have been negligent in putting up a “Wet Floor” sign, failing to remove ice from a sidewalk, or alert customers to a sudden mess or spill.
Challenges of Proving Grocery Store Negligence
It can be difficult to prove negligence for a slip and fall accident. For instance, a property owner or employee might have had a reason not to notice the hazardous condition before a victim slipped and fell. Proving otherwise might require assistance from expert New York slip & fall lawyers.
Furthermore, negligence in a slip and fall case can be difficult to prove if inclement weather is the hazardous element in question. For instance, someone may stop by a supermarket during the winter season. If that person were to slip and fall in the parking lot shortly after it snows, the store manager may have grounds to claim that they did not have enough time to take care of the condition before the victim walked on the hazardous surface.
The court will determine what level of responsibility the victim had for the injuries they sustained as well. This will impact the eventual compensation amount. In many situations, cases are settled where both parties are assigned some percentage of responsibility for an accident. A victim’s related medical costs, lost wages and other damages will also impact how compensation amounts are ultimately divided between parties.
Due to these challenges, it is recommended that victims contact a slip and fall attorney in order to maximize settlement amounts by proving the victim’s innocence, and negligence on behalf of grocery store owners.
Compensation for Falls in Supermarkets and Grocery Stores
Victims of slip and fall accidents may be entitled to compensation depending on the provable negligence and the costs for their recovery. The costs for doctor copays, pain medication, surgery and more can add up quickly. A slip and fall lawsuit may be the best way to manage these expenses.
New York also has a statute of limitations of three years for slip and fall cases, so victims must file their claim within that period if they want to pursue compensation.
Parties proven responsible for a slip and fall injury may be required to pay for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income due to recovery time or disability
- Pain and suffering costs
Compensation amounts for slip and fall accidents vary from case to case and depend largely on variables including the business in which it took place, the geographical location of the accident, and the severity of the victim’s injury.
Contact Slip & Fall Attorneys in New York Today
Ultimately, pressing a successful grocery store slip and fall case against a negligent party will be much easier with a team of experienced slip and fall lawyers. At Sobo & Sobo, their team of well-trained and knowledgeable attorneys will be able to assist with all the aspects of a supermarket slip and fall lawsuit.
With offices in NYC, Monticello, Middletown, Newburgh, and elsewhere throughout the state, Sobo & Sobo is prepared to assist with all aspects of a slip and fall case. Contact them today at 855-468-7626 or visit their website for a free consultation and fast assistance.
Slip & Fall Injuries in New York: State Statistics
Slip & fall injuries are very common in New York. According to the NYSDOH:
- Fall injuries are the leading cause of hospitalizations for kids under the age of 14, and adults 25 years and older.
- Fall injuries are the leading cause of injury-related deaths, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for adults 65 and older.
- In 2014 (the most recent available data), 1,202 New York seniors (NEW YORK STATE?) died as a result of fall injuries.
- The same data (DAVID: IS THIS NUMBER FROM NY STATE? IF SO, STATE SO EXPLICITLY) set showed 52,309 hospitalizations and 111,045 emergency department visits.
- 55% of those who died from a fall accident also suffered a TBI
- 27% of those who were hospitalized or visited the emergency department suffered a hip fracture
Grocery store workers themselves can also suffer from slip and fall accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in 2018, falls, slips and trips accounted for 17 workplace fatalities.
Contact a Slip & Fall Attorney Today
The slip and fall lawyers at Sobo & Sobo have over 50 years of experience winning cases for clients across the Hudson Valley and New York City. Call them for a free consultation at (855) 468-7626 to discuss your case, and determine the estimated value of your settlement. Without strong and experienced legal representation, slip and fall cases are typically dismissed—especially when large grocery stores and retail chains are involved. Call or contact our slip and fall attorneys today and get the justice and maximum settlement for your damages that you deserve.