Experienced Premises Liability Attorneys for Kingston and Marlboro Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents
A sudden and unexpected slip and fall can cause serious injuries, including muscle tears, fractures, and even spine or brain injuries. Grocery stores are a common site of such accidents, due to the frequent spills and presence of slippery floors or tripping hazards. Grocery store managers are well aware of the potential for slips or trips on their premises, and they must adhere to industry standards in providing a safe environment for shoppers. While 100% of accidents cannot be prevented, there is no excuse for accidents caused by an employee’s or company’s negligence. The attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP in Kingston and Marlboro help injury victims throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley who have been injured in a grocery store slip and fall due to the negligence of store owners and their staff.
A slip and fall or trip and fall in a grocery store can occur in any number of ways. Some of the most common hazards to watch out for include:
- Parking lots and entrances – The accumulation of ice or snow in the winter can create dangerously slick surfaces. Improper lighting, potholes and cracked or broken sidewalks can also create hazardous conditions.
- Product spills – Liquid spills can create hard-to-see slippery floors, and even spills of dry food or other products may create loose surfaces that can cause one to lose one’s footing. Broken jars create additional hazards of nearly-invisible glass shards.
- Produce department – Moisture from produce sprays can easily accumulate near vegetable bins. Fruits and vegetables that are improperly stacked may fall to the floor, creating tripping hazards. Employees should routinely inspect the produce department for food or moisture on the floor.
- Refrigerated aisles – Condensation may collect at the bottom of improperly maintained refrigeration equipment, which can pool and spread out into customer pathways.
Items falling from shelves – Products which are not stacked carefully can fall and strike a customer, or land in the aisles and create a tripping hazard.
- Boxes or products on the floor – Employees engaged in stocking must be careful to keep their products out of customer paths and not to leave a potentially dangerous area unattended.
- Displays – Oddly-shaped displays that are not properly placed can stick out into the aisles and create a tripping hazard.
- Entrances and exits – Malfunctioning automatic doors have been known to cause injury, as well as floor mats that are either missing or are bunched up or improperly positioned.
- Shopping carts – Defective carts whose wheels seize up while in motion can cause customers to lose their balance and fall.
- Cleaning and maintenance – When mopping up spills or performing regular cleaning, employees must secure the area with appropriate signage that reminds customers to use caution.
Proving Premises Liability in Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents
In order to prove a case of premises liability in a grocery store slip and fall, it is necessary to prove that an employee or management knew of the dangerous condition yet failed to correct it or put up a warning in a reasonable amount of time before the accident happened. This means proving that the store owner either knew (actual notice) or should have known (constructive notice) about the danger but did nothing about it. Proving notice or knowledge on the part of store personnel can be particularly challenging in grocery store slip and fall cases, where the dangerous condition is often only temporary in nature. For instance, a spill can occur at any time; a grocery store should only be held liable for an accident that occurs because the spill was left there for an unreasonable length of time.
At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, our experienced premises liability attorneys understand how to prepare and prove a strong case showing the defendant’s liability, whether that involves interviewing employees and witnesses, securing video footage, or employing industry experts and investigators to determine whether store practices and inspection routines were up to acceptable standards. Grocery stores and their insurance companies may also claim that an accident is the result of customer carelessness or inattention, but our lawyers fight back against any such unfounded attempts by the company to avoid or lessen their liability.
Help is Available for Serious Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents in Kingston and Marlboro
If you have been injured in a grocery store slip and fall, be sure and report the incident immediately to the store manager, and demand that they make a report of the incident. If you can, it is also a good idea to get contact information from any witnesses who may be available. If you struck your head in a fall, be on the alert for signs of a concussion or head injury, such as persistent headache, dizziness, nausea or blurred vision. In any event, it is a good idea to follow up with your doctor for a thorough check, and to get the fact of the accident in your medical records. Next, contact an experienced New York premises liability attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can act quickly to preserve any security camera footage or other evidence, and can also advise you on your next steps.
In the Hudson Valley, call Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for assistance. You can reach us for a free consultation at our offices in Kingston (845-331-4100) or Marlboro (845-236-4411), or toll free at 800-566-4101.