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  • What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in a Grocery Store?

    Our Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Advocate for Clients Injured in Grocery Store AccidentsGoing to the grocery store is a regular part of life. Many people are likely unaware that they are walking into one of the more dangerous shopping environments.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that approximately 24,000 children under age 15 are injured each year in shopping cart accidents each year in the United States.

    Slip and fall accidents are one of the most frequently occurring and common causes of injuries, sending many people to the emergency room each year. Injuries suffered in grocery store accidents often prevent one from working and earning an income.

    If you are physically able to, you should do the following after a slip and fall accident:

    • Report the accident to the store owner or manager on duty and request a copy of the company’s required accident report.
    • Exchange identification and contact information with the owner, manager, or responding staff.
    • Photograph the scene, including your injuries and conditions that caused the accident, such as wet floors, faulty equipment, stacked inventory, and other contributing factors.
    • Ask witnesses for contact information and statements
    • Seek medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Certain internal injuries have delayed symptoms that can quickly become very serious if untreated. Medical records are necessary to support any personal injury claim.
    • Maintain all records, invoices, and communication related to the accident and your injuries.
    • Consult a lawyer with experience handling slip and fall claims against commercial properties or industries and securing maximum compensation for clients.

    What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents in Grocery Stores?

    Pennsylvania business owners are legally responsible for maintaining a safe environment for customers. When property owners fail to protect customers on their property, they may be held accountable for any accidents or injuries that occur. With a large number of customers and a variety of items, grocery stores can be especially hazardous without efforts to maintain safety. Slip and fall accidents are the most common accidents due to:

    • Produce or packaged items falling from shelves, being dropped, or knocked over.
    • Damaged packaging, such as broken jars and bottles.
    • Wet floors due to weather, spills, leaks, produce misters, clogged or overflowing bathroom fixtures, mopping, and cleaning.
    • Broken or missing handrails, stairway treads, and lighting.
    • Cracked or broken parking lots, sidewalks, or floor tiles.
    • Malfunctioning or broken doors at entrances and exits, bathroom stalls, refrigerated units, and frozen food compartments.
    • Bunched, worn, missing, or poorly placed rugs and floor mats.
    • Unattended boxes and equipment in store aisles.
    • Uncovered or untaped electrical cords and cables on the floor.
    • Uncleared ice or snow-covered sidewalks and parking lots.
    • Broken, damaged, or defective shopping carts.
    • Improperly marked or restricted construction or repair areas.
    • Lack of warning signs.

    What Is the Most Dangerous Section in a Grocery Store?

    Certain departments in grocery stores have more slip and fall hazards than others, especially those with liquid items that can spill or leak and cause slippery floors. More dangers lurk in the produce section than any other section of the store due to:

    • Dropped or falling fruits and vegetables that are stepped on, split open, or splatter slippery liquids. Small, easily detached produce, such as cherry tomatoes or grapes, can be difficult to see and avoid, making them more dangerous than other produce.
    • Misaligned or defective misters that spray water onto the floor rather than fresh produce and customers who shake off wet produce onto the floor.
    • Leaking or spilled buckets of water holding fresh flowers, employees overwatering floral displays, and unmarked water hoses in walking areas.
    • Pallets and crates of produce for restocking.

    What Types of Injuries Are Caused in Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents?

    Grocery stores that are poorly maintained can be especially hazardous for the elderly, small children, and disabled individuals. Depending on where they occur and the nature of the accident, slip and fall accidents can cause any number of mild to severe injuries, including but not limited to:

    • Back and spinal cord injuries
    • Broken bones
    • Bruising
    • Cuts and lacerations
    • Neck and shoulder injuries
    • Nerve damage
    • Sprains, strains, and tears
    • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

    Are Grocery Stores Dangerous Places to Work?

    Grocery stores can be even more dangerous for employees. Over 96 percent of all grocery store accidents involve employees rather than customers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranks grocery stores as one of the top nine most dangerous industries, reporting over 100,000 cases of injury or illness each year, roughly 29 percent of all work-related accidents and injuries. Approximately 73 percent of grocery store employee illnesses are due to repetitive and motion-related trauma and injuries, more than half the average in all retail trade industries.

    A recent study by the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Florida revealed that workers in the U.S. food supply chain are at high risk for suffering severe injuries and hospitalization. Using data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports, researchers investigated severe injuries among workers in various food and beverage industry segments. Over 25 percent of all reported severe injuries involved grocery stores and related product wholesale workers.

    Who Is Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents in Grocery Stores?

    Determining fault for your accidents and injuries in a grocery store slip and fall accident can be challenging. Grocery store accidents can be particularly complex because there is often more than one responsible party, such as the following:

    • Store owner: In the majority of cases, grocery store owners are responsible for failing to meet their duty of care to maintain a safe premises for customers, such as failure to clean spills and other hazards, remove trip hazards, or provide adequate lighting or signs.
    • Property owners: When grocery stores are located within a larger property or shopping center, the property owner may be liable if an accident occurs in common areas such as parking lots, sidewalks, or shared entryways.
    • Manufacturers or suppliers: Manufacturers are typically accountable for dangerous or defective products that cause accidents, such as wet floors from defective or leaking refrigerators.
    • Employees: In some circumstances, individual employees could be responsible for negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior that leads to a dangerous condition and accident.
    • Third-party contractors: Grocery stores often contract with third-party companies for cleaning, maintenance, or parking lot clearing, which may be responsible for negligent actions, such as failing to perform required or requested duties, leading to accidents.

    Why Choose Galfand Berger LLP for Your Slip and Fall Case?

    At Galfand Berger LLP, our lawyers are exceptionally skilled and experienced at negotiating with commercial businesses, corporations, and insurance companies. Our team has a long history of recovering millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Some recent verdicts and settlements include:

    • $2.5 million settlement for a tanker truck driver who suffered a fall onto a concrete floor, suffered a broken left hip, broken left eye socket, permanent hearing loss, and disequilibrium, and was rendered permanently disabled.
    • $1.75 million recovery for a college student killed after falling down a flight of stairs in a building previously cited with a code violation for a missing handrailing but was not repaired.
    • $700,000 settlement for an elevator accident. Our client sustained injuries when she stepped out of an elevator that began ascending after its doors had opened, causing her to step into an empty space and fall.

    Our Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Advocate for Clients Injured in Grocery Store Accidents

    Grocery stores are dangerous when negligent store owners fail to uphold their duty of care to keep the public safe. If you have been injured in a grocery store accident, our experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP are available to review your case. Call today at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    ALLENTOWN/BETHLEHEM
    1-800-222-USWA (8792)

    LANCASTER
    717-824-3376

    READING
    610-376-1696