I received a question about a woman badly injured in a slip and fall in a supermarket who wanted to know if she could collect compensation from the grocery store. I thought this might interest our readers.
On September 3rd, I had a supermarket slip and fall. I had put a jar of salsa in the top part of a cart. I truly did not know that the plastic flap was supposed to be put up when there is no child in the cart. The jar rolled out, broke on the floor and I took my next step in it and promptly fell. I could not stand up as my right leg kept giving out on me. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where it was diagnosed as a sprain. After a follow up with my orthopedic surgeon and an MRI, it was determined that I had fractured my tibia plateau. I am still walking with a limp due to the lengthy heal time for this type of fracture. The doctor has released me with instructions to come back if I encounter any problems.
Traveler’s Insurance, the supermarket’s insurance, refuses to cover anything, saying it was my fault. I am really only looking for out-of-pocket expenses to be covered as my medical insurance covered everything else. I thought businesses had no-fault insurance for instances like this.
Do I have any recourse? If not, I understand.
I’m sorry to hear about your injuries and hope you are able to make a full and complete recovery. You ask several questions and I will do my best to answer them for you.
First, New York has a No Fault law that applies to motor vehicle accidents. It does not apply to slip and fall cases. It is possible that the store in which you fell has what we call Med Pay coverage which would pay some or all of your medical bills regardless of fault. If you have not already done so, you may want to ask them if they have such coverage.
Second, you asked about pursuing a claim against the grocery store. To do so, you would need to demonstrate that you suffered an injury because of the negligence of the store and that you suffered an injury because of it. It is clear that you have suffered a significant injury. Based on your description, it is hard to see how the store could be held liable for your slip and fall. They would need to have either caused the incident or had notice of a dangerous condition and failed to have remedied the problem. In this instance, they did not have notice of the salsa falling. They did not cause the incident unless you wanted to argue that they failed to warn about putting up the plastic flap. I do not think that is an argument that would succeed in proving the store liable.
We have handled many, many cases involving slip and falls in supermarket cases. To prevail, one must be able to prove that the negligence of the supermarket caused the fall. This can happen if the store knew about a hazardous condition, but failed to fix it or if they should have known about a hazard and failed to fix it. The store can also be held liable if they caused the problem. Among the supermarket cases in which we have won settlements or court verdicts are:
- A puddle had formed in the main aisle of a grocery store and sat for many minutes and the puddle caused our client to slip and fall and injure herself. The store was liable because they should have seen this puddle in their main aisle and cleaned it up.
- In many cases, leaks from refrigerator units holding meat, fish and even flowers have caused wet floors causing clients to fall and suffer injuries. The stores were liable because they should have prevented the leaks.
- A store employee mopped a floor creating a wet and slippery surface, but failed to put up any warning signs. A client slipped and fell and injured her knee. The store was liable for creating the hazardous situation without warning customers of the problem.
- In many cases, a customer dropped an item (milk, yogurt, olive oil, etc.) and the store had an opportunity to clean it up and failed to do so, thus making the store liable when our clients slipped and fell.
- Leaking sinks and water fountains have led to clients slipping and falling and injuring themselves. The stores have been liable because they had control over the sinks and water fountains and failed to prevent or fix the problem.
These examples don’t include slips and fall on ice in the parking lot or trip and fall cases involving debris, stray cartons or defective shelving.
I know that you have suffered a significant injury and would like to receive some compensation from the store, but I do not see grounds to hold them liable. Of course, you can always consult with another attorney and you might be able to present him or her with more details and that may lead to a different opinion.
I hope information helps and that you are able to make a full recovery.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall incident, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with slip and fall cases. We have handled many supermarket cases. We would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. You can call us at 1-800-660-1466 or email us. You can also visit our website or read more on our blog, New York Law Thoughts.
The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney
This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.
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