If you slip and fall in a store in Massachusetts, you may sustain injuries that require ongoing medical care. You may need to file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit against the business to receive compensation. Whether you slipped at a nationwide retailer or a regional grocery store like Hannaford, any company that invites guests onto its premises must take certain safety precautions. If you suspect Hannaford’s negligence contributed to your accident, you may have a personal injury claim. This blog post examines slip and call accidents at Hannaford locations and how a personal injury lawyer can help.
What Is Hannaford?
Hannaford is a supermarket retailer headquartered in Scarborough, Maine. Founded more than 100 years ago, Hannaford is one of the oldest supermarket chains in the U.S. The chain operates several stores throughout New England and New York. It recently merged with the Ahold Delhaize Group, which is in the Netherlands.
Responsibility To Maintain Safe Premises
Like all businesses that welcome guests, Hannaford needs to maintain a safe premise for customers. The chain may be liable if you can prove that the accident happened because of unsafe property conditions. There are numerous reasons why a customer may fall inside a store. The buildup of ice or snow near a store’s entry may cause a customer to trip and fall. The store may fail to clean up spills promptly, or food items may be stored haphazardly. Poor lighting may cause a low level of visibility that contributes to trip and fall incidents. All stores have a legal responsibility to maintain safe properties, but there are limits to these regulations. If there is an unsafe condition at a Hannaford store, employees must get a certain amount of time to address and fix the situation.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
Massachusetts is a comparative negligence state regarding slip and fall cases. The personal injury victim can hold some liability in the accident in these areas. The Hannaford store owner or property manager will likely argue that you caused the accident. If the other party convinces the judge or insurance company that you share liability, your compensation will be significantly lower. Any damages awarded will be reduced based upon your responsibility in the case. For example, you will only receive $25,000 out of a $100,000 settlement if the jury finds you 25% responsible for the accident. Further, you are not eligible for any compensation if you are found more than 50% liable for the fall. You could share liability if you disregarded warning signs or failed to take the proper precautions.
Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts
All personal injury lawsuits in Massachusetts must be filed within a specific amount of time. This time limit is the statute of limitations. While these laws exist to keep evidence reliable, they can hinder the judicial process in some circumstances. Thus, you should file your lawsuit as quickly as possible after the accident. Generally, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. However, certain circumstances allow you to file after the deadline has lapsed. For instance, some injuries take weeks or even years to manifest after a fall. Exceptions are sometimes granted if you can prove a delayed-onset injury.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of death for older people over age 65. Falls are particularly harmful if they take place on hard surfaces. Most Hannaford grocery stores have epoxy or concrete floors that are hard and slippery when wet. A personal injury lawyer can provide legal counsel and representation if you suffered a slip and fall injury. An attorney can help establish liability for the accident and if Hannaford breached its responsibility to maintain a safe premise. A Massachusetts personal injury lawyer can help with the following:
1. Investigate the Case
A successful slip and fall claim requires evidence to prove negligence. A lawyer can help gather evidence, including witness testimony, photos of the scene, medical records, and expert statements. Having pictures of the hazard is an essential aspect of any case. For instance, if there were no hazard signs placed near a slippery floor, you need photos to prove the negligence.
2. Evaluate Your Losses
Every personal injury case should detail the desired compensation award. A lawyer can help you calculate the tangible economic impact of your fall. You may receive the following compensation, depending on the nature of your case:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medication
- Lost income
- Diminished earning potential
- Property damage
Noneconomic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, stress, mental distress, and disability. However, some victims who suffered a severe injury may also receive non-economic damages. A lawyer can help you determine whether you are entitled to noneconomic compensation.
3. Prove Neglect
The most vital component of any slip and fall case or claim is proving the store owner failed to maintain a safe premise for customers. You must prove that Hannaford’s managers knew about the hazard but failed to fix the situation. Liability is often established through photos, but witness statements, property records, and medical bills can also help. Generally, injury victims trespassing on a property are not eligible for compensation. Victims also have a general responsibility to act reasonably while shopping in general stores. You may not have a case if a reasonable person would have spotted the hazard that caused you to fall. The main job of the other party is to prove you were responsible for the accident.
4. Recommend Medical Professionals
Many personal injury lawyers have relationships with local doctors. They can often recommend medical professionals that can provide care for certain types of injuries. Your lawyer will also work with your doctor to get the proper medical documentation.
5. Negotiate a Settlement
Personal injury lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance adjusters and other lawyers. They understand your case and know the amount of money you should receive. Negotiating is quicker than going to trial, so it is often best to have your attorney negotiate a settlement.
6. Represent You in Trial
While settling with Hannaford is the easiest option, you may need to go to court if the other party’s legal team is unwilling to negotiate. Usually, only cases seeking a lot of damages go to court. Some cases are presented before a jury, while others are in front of a judge. Going to trial is a lengthy process that requires months of preparation. Your attorney is responsible for filing the proper paperwork, gathering evidence, prepping you for court, and communicating with the other party’s legal team. Negotiations continue through the court proceedings, and you can settle until a verdict is announced. Your attorney can file an appeal if the case does not end in your favor.
Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Did you slip and fall at a Hannaford’s store in Massachusetts? At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we can help you recover the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We understand the financial burdens placed on injury victims, and we work to get every client the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to set up a no-obligation appointment.