Top Five Causes of Grocery Store Falls

by | Sep 22, 2022 | Premises Liability

Other than motor vehicle collisions, falls are the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. The majority of these incidents occur at grocery stores and other retailers. These businesses rely on foot traffic and usually have lots of workers. Because of all this use, walking surfaces, both inside and outside the store, are often unsafe. That’s especially true if the victim has a pre-existing condition.

Legally, workers’ compensation usually covers employee falls and other injuries. Theoretically, these no-fault benefits pay medical bills and replace lost wages. As a practical matter, the benefits often don’t match the losses, usually because insurance adjusters only approve the cheapest remedy. Customers are eligible for compensation if the store was negligent. In this context, negligence usually means the store knew about the hazard, or should have known about it, yet didn’t take corrective action.

In both situations, a Lexington personal injury attorney is a very important partner. Insurance companies have gangs of lawyers who are committed to reducing or denying compensation any way they can. An attorney, on the other hand, is committed to maximum compensation for your serious injuries. In a negligence claim, this compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Wet Floors

Liquids, mostly from spills, may be the leading cause of grocery store and other retail falls in Kentucky.

Retail workers and customers are both invitees in the Bluegrass State. So, the store has a duty of reasonable care to keep the floor reasonably safe. This duty includes a responsibility to conduct safety checks at various times of day. If these inspectors find problems, they must immediately address them.

Spine injuries are very common in slip-and-fall cases. Even a moderate spine injury can be almost completely debilitating. Additionally, the only treatment options are usually powerful and addictive painkillers or risky and radical surgery. Those aren’t very good options.

Aisle Debris

These injuries are especially common in produce areas. Lots of people rummage through containers, which means lots of items drop on the floor.

Speaking of produce, a classic law school case, 1911’s Anjou vs. Boston Elevated Railway Company, illustrates the aforementioned constructive knowledge (should have known) rule.

Ms. Anjou slipped and fell on a banana peel in a busy train station. Witnesses testified that the peel was “dry and gritty as if there were dirt upon it,” and as if “tramped over a good deal.” Since the peel had evidently been on the floor awhile, the court ruled that the train station owner should have known about it and should have done something about it. Hypothetically, if the peel was yellow, as if it had just fallen on the floor, the owner probably didn’t know about the hazard.460

Cracked Walkways

As mentioned, grocery store and other retail floors take a lot of wear and tear. Cracks and uneven walkways inevitably develop.

Pre-existing conditions often come into play in these falls. A rather small hazard like a cracked tile might not cause most people to fall. But many people, especially older people, have gait disorders. They shuffle their feet when they walk. As a result, if they lose their balance, they usually fall.

The eggshell skull rule protects these victims. An insurance company cannot use a person’s physical or other vulnerability as a means to reduce or deny compensation.

Electrical Cords

Supposedly, during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back, during a dramatic entrance, David Prowse (Darth Vader) tripped over an electrical cord and face planted. He was okay, but many other victims aren’t okay after they trip over electrical cords.

Once again, the eggshell skull rule applies if the victim has arthritis, a bad knee, or another pre-existing condition that worsens the fall injury. Basically, a Lexington personal injury attorney must prove the fall aggravated the pre-existing condition, instead of the other way around. Many lawyers partner with doctors in these situations.

Electrical cord falls are especially common in employee-only areas of grocery and other retail stores.

Icy Walkways

Other than wet spots, ice is probably the leading cause of grocery store falls. That’s especially true if the hazard is black ice. This thin, translucent ice is hard to see, especially in the dark. It’s also much slicker than white ice.

Outside falls present some special legal issues. Retailers are usually responsible for the walkways directly in front of their stores. The mini-mall landlord is usually responsible for falls in the parking lot.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.