The number of people who experience injuries from a grocery store slip and fall is astounding. However, when you consider the environment—inherently slick flooring, refrigeration, food—grocery store slip and fall incidents make sense. So who is responsible after a grocery store slip and fall in North Carolina? The answer may not be as easy as you think.
Is The Grocery Store Responsible For My Slip And Fall?
If you hire a personal injury attorney in North Carolina for your slip and fall case, they will have to prove negligence on the part of the grocery store. This type of claim is a Premises Liability Claim in the legal field, but most of us refer to it as a Slip and Fall. The burden is on the plaintiff and their attorney to prove:
- There was a dangerous condition present;
- The owner of the premises knew or should have known about the condition;
- The owner of the premises did not correct the condition;
- You were injured as a direct result of the condition;
This four-pronged test is essentially the test for proving Negligence in a grocery store slip and fall. Each prong of the test will be met with resistance by the owner of the grocery store. Our firm has fought against Harris Teeter, Publix, Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, Food Lion, and many other stores on slip and fall claims. Their inclination is to deny liability, which they will do with you from the moment they discover you fell in their grocery store. In fact, they may even claim Contributory Negligence on your part, and offer you a Nuisance Settlement. Do not be tempted to take this as a full settlement of your claim, at least not before speaking with a personal injury lawyer.
What Is A Nuisance Settlement?
A nuisance settlement is essentially a low offer made by a grocery store or other premises owner or manager, to make the claim go away. Quite often a restaurant or grocery store will offer you a gift card or pay your medical bills, after your slip and fall. In exchange, they will want you to sign a release indicating they are no longer liable for any injuries resulting from the fall. While their settlement offer can be fair, most often it is an attempt to pay as little as possible to avoid further legal problems.
What Should I Do If I Slip And Fall In A Grocery Store?
In another post, we wrote about what to do if you’re in a car accident; however, if you slip and fall in a grocery store, you want to take a few different steps.
- Document the scene by taking photos;
- Get the name and phone number of any witnesses who saw you fall—do this quickly, so they don’t disperse before you get a chance;
- Notify a manager and fill out an incident report;
- Identify the source of the dangerous condition—was it spilled yogurt or milk, a piece of fruit or fruit juice in the vegetable aisle? Determine what caused your slip and fall;
- Get the direct contact information for the manager so you or your lawyer can follow up;
Can A Lawyer Help With A Minor Grocery Store Slip And Fall?
Yes. While we may think of personal injury lawyers as courtroom lawyers in high-dollar lawsuits, the reality is that personal injury lawyers work on numerous smaller claims every month. Most personal injury practices are built on lawyers having the ability to represent clients at all levels, no matter how large or small the personal injury claim. If you think you only have a minor injury (see here for our post on minor injuries from car accidents), that is no reason not to consult with a personal injury lawyer. In fact, your lawyer’s experience in discussing injuries related to grocery store slips and falls will help you in numerous ways:
- You’ll understand your options in dealing with the grocery store, with or without a lawyer;
- The personal injury lawyer may help you identify an injury you didn’t know as a result of your grocery store slip and fall (headaches, memory loss, late-onset back pain, etc);
- You will feel better because you’ve spoken with a professional;
- You can turn the stress over to someone who is eager to help;
If you’ve been injured in a grocery store slip and fall, call us to speak with an attorney at 704.749.7747
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