Grocery and supermarket stores present a range of potential slip and fall hazards from wet floors to fallen items. Wegmans Food Markets has stores all over the New England area, where inclement weather is part of the norm, and parking lots quickly develop a sheet of snow and ice in the winter months. If you or a loved one sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident at Wegmans, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
What Are the Common Causes of Injuries at Wegmans?
With so many items on the shelves and displays on the endcaps, a store like Wegmans has more potential hazards than you might think. Some common dangerous situations found in a grocery store include:
- Wet floors caused by spillage in the aisles or bathroom
- Heavy products located on higher shelves
- Falling objects from overstocked shelves or displays
- Poorly maintained floors with broken or loose boards or tiles
- Dangerous displays with precariously placed items
- Poorly maintained parking lots with cracked pavement or unswept debris
- Damaged or cracked walkways leading up to the store
- Snow and ice-covered parking lots left unplowed or salted
- Misplaced carts or shopping baskets
- Stock pallets left in the aisles
When any of these conditions are left unchecked for too long, the likelihood of a slip and fall happening in high-traffic stores increases.
What Are the Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries?
Small children and older adults are the most at-risk demographics for slip and fall accidents. The potential injuries range from none to serious. The details of every accident are different, but some potential injuries caused by a slip and fall include:
- Bruises and lacerations
- Broken bones, commonly in the hands, wrists, feet, hips, and limbs
- Back and spine injuries
- Joint and shoulder dislocations
- Sprains, commonly in the ankle and wrist
- Concussions and contusions
- Traumatic brain injuries varying from mild to severe
- Knee injuries
- Muscle strains
Seniors are also the most vulnerable to serious injury from a slip and fall. Additionally, recovery time is often longer and more difficult for them.
How Is Liability Determined?
Grocery store owners have a responsibility to maintain safe conditions in and around their stores. Most of the time, they require regular aisle and bathroom checks throughout employee shifts as part of the safety policies for the store. However, sometimes managers fail to properly train employees or to ensure that they complete these duties. To recover compensation for the losses you suffered, you must prove that the property owner or store manager and employees acted negligently by showing that:
- Your injury was the result of the store failing to correct or remove a dangerous condition.
- Any reasonable person would have known that the unsafe condition was there, therefore, the manager or employees should have known.
- The manager or employees failed to correct the unsafe condition, place any warning signage near it, or partition it off so that customers could not pass through it.
- The store’s failure to correct the dangerous condition or warn others of its existence caused your injury.
Slip and fall personal injury accidents fall under the law of premises liability, which mandates that property owners in Massachusetts keep their premises in a safe condition for anyone stepping lawfully on or in it.
Type of Evidence Used
Proving that the property owner or manager is liable in your case requires certain evidence. The best forms of evidence in a slip and fall case are eyewitnesses and security footage. Supermarkets are rarely completely empty. Therefore, the chance of finding witnesses is relatively high. Most large, chain supermarkets have security cameras around and inside the property. Witnesses provide firsthand testimony to corroborate your narrative of the incident. Ideally, you would, at the time of the fall, take down the name and number of anyone that saw the accident happen. If you or someone else called the police, the police record should list witnesses. Security footage is also an invaluable piece of evidence. Recordings of the area before and during your accident could prove that the dangerous condition was there before, staff neglected to clean it up, and you fell down as a result of it.
Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
If your case makes it to court, Massachusetts’ modified comparative negligence rule is used to decide how much compensation you will receive. Bearing any amount of responsibility for the accident does not immediately render you ineligible for compensation. Once the jury determines the amount of your award, they then deduct a percentage equal to the percentage of your liability in the case. For example, if the jury awards you $50,000 and deems you 25% responsible for the accident, a $12,500 deduction applies to your award. You then receive $37,500. However, if you are found more than 50% responsible, meaning you bear more responsibility than the defendant, you are no longer eligible for compensation. If your case does not make it to trial, comparative negligence will still play a role in settlement negotiations. Wegmans’ insurance company and legal representation will assess your role in the accident and likely refer to it when making a case for their offer.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Incident?
After a slip and fall accident, there are a few steps you should take to protect your health and your case:
- If you do not need emergency medical attention, you should still see a doctor after your fall. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are very dangerous when left untreated, and medical records are a vital source in valuing your claim.
- Report the incident to the property owner or manager and ask for a copy of the written statement or incident report.
- Take photos of the area where the incident occurred.
- Document everything. Write down your story as soon as possible so that you do not forget anything. Get the names and contact information of witnesses.
- Contact a slip and fall accident attorney and avoid social media.
When you file a slip and fall lawsuit, you should expect the at-fault party to try to avoid payment. Any evidence you have from the time of the incident is crucial.
How Can a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer Help You?
A slip and fall injury lawyer can guide you through the complexities of a personal injury lawsuit and help you value your claim to ensure that you receive compensation for all the damages you suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Your attorney will speak to the defendant’s insurance company and legal representation for you so that you can focus on healing. Having the support of a team that understands the burdens that your accident can create is comforting during such a vulnerable time. If you were recently injured in a slip and fall accident at a Wegmans, the slip and fall accident lawyers at Jason Stone Injury have the experience you need to get the compensation that you deserve. The financial burden placed on victims of personal injury accidents can be extensive, and that is why Jason Stone Injury Lawyers require no upfront fees for a case consultation. The first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee ensures that we get paid only after you get paid. Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today to get the help you need.