With a single misstep, a trip to Star Market for your weekly grocery shopping could become the site of a slip-and-fall accident. If you injure yourself in the fall, you could have a legal case to explore and damages to recover from the at-fault party. Not only do the offices of Jason Stone Injury Lawyers want to help protect your rights, but we also want to help ensure you know your rights in a slip-and-fall accident. You could have more at stake than you realize, and we want to help you experience peace of mind, no matter what happens.
Store Liability in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Because you fell in a store rather than a friend’s house, you must establish fault and liability to build a strong legal case. All businesses have a duty to protect customers from harm. If someone becomes injured, she or he deserves to understand essential issues to consider for slip-and-fall accidents.
Responsibility To Maintain Safe Premises
Any business open to the public has a duty to maintain safe premises for customers. When companies like Star Market violate that duty and a person sustains injury in a slip-and-fall accident, the business could become liable for paying for harm suffered if the customer proves hazardous conditions on the premises caused the injury. Common examples of reasons customers fall in grocery stores include poor visibility, condensation tracked in from outside, frayed carpeting, poor lighting, unsecured cords and carelessly placed display items. No matter the reason the person fell, whether the store becomes the negligent party depends on whether the store owner and staff had reasonable notice of the hazard and attempted to remedy the situation.
Proving Store Liability
If the injured customer successfully proves the store owner created the danger that caused the slip and fall, the store could become the responsible party. Another way to hold the owner responsible is if the injured party and her or his legal team prove the store owner knew about a dangerous condition but did nothing about it. For instance, if one customer brings an uncovered drink into the store, spills it, and another customer slips and becomes injured, the store could bear responsibility. Under those circumstances, the harmed customer must show the store owner or staff knew or should have known about the spill and done something about it. That means showing evidence that the spill remained unattended long enough that a staff member should have discovered it and cleaned it. The harmed party may also show the store either knew or should have known about spills being a common occurrence in grocery stores and did not have the resources necessary to identify and respond to spills to keep customers safe. Injured customers must also show they did not have a responsibility to avoid the spill because the liquid was difficult to discern. Personal injury plaintiffs usually have a hard time collecting damages if they hurt themselves on an obvious hazard, such as a spill marked by a “wet floor” sign or a massive, brightly lit display. Tripping and sustaining an injury because of a display usually makes for a difficult legal battle because customers should expect displays in businesses like grocery stores.
Premises Liability Law
Slip-and-fall injuries involve premises liability law. For grocery store slips and falls, the injured customer must prove one of the following to hold the store owner responsible:
- The owner bears responsibility for creating the hazard that caused the customer’s injury.
- The owner knew about the hazard and did nothing about it.
- The owner should have known about the hazard and taken steps to prevent unnecessary injuries, much like a reasonable person would.
When deciding a ruling, judges and juries concentrate on whether the grocery store owner tries to keep the business safe, up to the latest codes and clean.
Legal Damages for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
The reason injured parties in slip-and-fall accident cases place such importance on liability and negligence is so they may recover maximum damages for the harm suffered because of another’s actions. Examples of damages injured parties may recover include emotional distress, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
A slip-and-fall accident could trigger emotional distress in the injured party. To stand the most favorable chance of recovering these damages, plaintiffs must usually receive an official diagnosis or treatment plan from a mental health specialist.
Plaintiffs deserve compensation for all health care bills associated with their injury. The resulting medical bills could stem from anything from ambulance visits, physical therapy sessions and medication to hospital stays and medical assistive devices. Such damages account for medical expenses the victim already paid and the ones she or he must pay in the future to make a full recovery. Sometimes, health insurance companies may have a claim to a personal injury victim’s medical damages. The victim could file an insurance claim, and the coverage provider could pay healthcare costs associated with the injury. If so, the plaintiff may have to give a portion of the recovered damages to the insurance company.
Pain and Suffering
Other than economic damages, personal injury victims must also consider non-economic damages. Pain and suffering damages account for physical pain caused by essential medical treatment and the physical discomfort a slip-and-fall injury causes. Another facet of pain and suffering is restlessness, mental anguish, depression, stress and similar mental and emotional effects of the fall and resulting harm.
While recovering from a personal injury, victims may need to take time off work to make doctor’s appointments, attend physical therapy appointments and receive treatment. If so, they deserve compensation for the income they lost and the income they lose in the future. Damages also account for paid time off and vacation days the plaintiff uses because of suffering a personal injury. When severe injuries leave victims unable to work or earn the wages they made before, they could qualify for loss of earning capacity damages.
Depending on the circumstances of the personal injury, the plaintiff could qualify for punitive damages. Rather than making the victim financially whole, punitive damages act as a punishment for the at-fault party and a warning for anyone who may engage in similar behavior. While rare in slip-and-fall accidents and other personal injury cases, punitive damages may greatly increase a case’s overall worth.
Steps in Legal Cases for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Because slip-and-fall victims cannot afford to waste time, they must know the steps in personal injury lawsuits. After becoming injured, victims may hire an injury lawyer to determine whether they have a case. If so, the lawyer files a personal injury complaint in civil court and serves the document to the responsible party. The defendant could secure legal representation or let her or his insurance carrier know about the complaint and lawsuit. Next, both sides meet for the discovery process, where they share witness details and evidence. This process could take years to finish before the plaintiff and defendant move on to the trial phase. Usually, parties settle before going to trial.
Schedule Your No-Obligation Consultation Today
Do not wait to see if you have a personal injury case against Star Market. Jason Stone Injury Lawyers stand ready to review your case with an obligation-free consultation. Contact one of our representatives today by calling 800-577-5188. There’s No Obligation, Just Information (R).