We received this email question from a person hurt in slip and fall at a supermarket:
I slipped and fell in at supermarket in Suffolk County (I don’t want to say which one) a year and a half ago. I didn’t go right to the hospital, I was a little embarrassed. I went to the doctor the next day. At first she said just to rest, then she had me go for physical therapy. Then I saw an orthopedist and got some shots and more physical therapy. Now I need surgery. When the man from the store called me, I told him I would be okay and had my own insurance. Now I changed my mind. I can’t believe that I might need back surgery because of this. Can I sue? Is it too late to bring a lawsuit?
Answer on the New York Statute of Limitations on Slip and Fall Cases
I am sorry to hear about your injury and I hope you get the medical treatment you need to recover fully.
New York allows three years to bring a lawsuit in a slip and fall case so you still have time to bring a case against the supermarket. You can read an article here about the Statute of Limitations in New York. For personal injury cases, the deadline is three years from the original incident.
Special rules apply if you want to bring a case against a municipality (e.g., the City of New York or a town) or municipal agency (the MTA or the Port Authority). You can read more about those rules here.
Suing a Supermarket in a Slip and Fall Case
Winning a claim or a lawsuit against a supermarket can be difficult and will depend on the circumstances of your incident and the injuries it caused. In slip and fall cases, you need to prove that someone else’s negligence caused you to fall and that negligence led to your injuries. Let’s apply these requirements to your case. (You can read more about supermarket cases here and here).
To prove that the grocery store was negligent, you need to show that the store knew about the hazardous condition, but failed to fix it; or that they should have known about the hazard and failed to fix it. The store can also be held liable if they caused the problem. Let me give you some examples:
- If a leaky pipe caused a puddle to form and you slipped and fell in the puddle, the store can be held liable because they failed to maintain the pipe and they should have known about the situation. They should have repaired the pipe or warned shoppers about the hazard.
- If another shopper dropped a bottle of liquid and it created a puddle and you fell in that puddle, then the store might be liable. If the customer had warned the store manager about the puddle and the store failed to do anything about it, then the store would be liable. If the puddle formed in a main aisle and sat there for some time and store personnel failed to take notice and clean it up or put up warnings, then the store might be liable. (We have won cases under those circumstances.)
- If the other shopper dropped the bottle and you immediately fell in the puddle, the store probably would not be liable because they had no notice of the hazard and could not take steps to remedy the problem.
Even when the store should bear liability, it is hard to hold the store 100 percent liable for a slip and fall. Jurors tend to first look at the plaintiff and ask themselves, “why were you not more careful?”
After demonstrating the liability for your fall, you still need to show that your injuries were caused by the fall at the supermarket. You can do that by using your medical records and testimony of your doctor.
I have handled many supermarket cases on Long Island and in New York. We know how to assess a case and how to determine and prove the liability of the store. We also have vast experience working with doctors and patient medical records to demonstrate the link between the fall and the subsequent injuries. You can read more about how we handle cases here and you can read here about some of our supermarket cases.
From what you have described, you have the basis for a claim against the supermarket and are entitled to compensation. The statute of limitations has not run out, but you should not wait. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better that attorney can help you.
I hope this 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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