As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 3 million people are treated in emergency rooms across the country because of falls. Another 800,000 people are hospitalized. Although most falls don’t cause serious injuries, about 20% of them involve broken bones or head injuries. Many of those falls involve slip and falls on commercial properties, especially grocery stores.
Common Causes of Slip and Falls at Tampa Grocery Stores:
Most of us are at a grocery store once or twice a week. We certainly don’t expect to be injured when we make those stops, but people are injured at Tampa area grocery stores just about every day. The majority of those injuries involve slip and fall accidents. Here are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents at Tampa area grocery stores:
- Spilled Food, Liquids, and Beverages: Accidents happen at grocery stores, and those accidents often cause more serious accidents. When food, liquids, and beverages are spilled on grocery store floors, they’re likely to leave a slippery hazard that customers can slip and fall on. Some of the liquids are clear, so customers might not realize or see the condition, especially when their attention is focused on merchandise that’s placed at eye height.
- Floors that Have Just Been Mopped: We’ve all seen the “Wet Floor” signs at grocery stores. Sometimes, employees fail to place those signs, and customers slip and fall because of wet freshly mopped floors and no signage or warnings of their condition.
- Washroom Floors: Water, wet paper towels, plumbing leaks, and even urine can be tracked all over a public washroom facility and cause a slippery walking surface. These public areas must be periodically checked and cleaned.
- Store Entrances: The Tampa area often has heavy rains, and customers will track in water from parking lots and sidewalks. Mats need to be properly placed at entrances, and those entrances need to be periodically mopped too. Proper warning signs must be placed at or near wet entrance areas.
- Parking Lots and Sidewalks: These pedestrian areas must also be checked for holes, cracks and uneven surfaces that might be likely to cause trip and fall accidents.
- Leaking Coolers: We have seen slip and fall accidents at grocery stores due to coolers that are improperly functioning. This kind of hazard can be extremely hard to avoid.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries:
When a person slips and falls, he or she will ordinarily fall backward or to either side. Those types of slips can cause serious injuries. According to the CDC, more than 95% of all hip fractures are caused by falls. Here are some other common slip and fall injuries:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: The CDC reports that falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These types of injuries might range from a minor concussion to skull fracture with bone fragments penetrating the brain with either permanent or fatal consequences.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The spinal cord extends downward for about 19 inches from the base of the brain. Vertebrae that are fractured and displaced or herniated spinal discs can tear or impinge upon the spinal cord. Even a partial spinal cord tear will lead to permanent paralysis.
- Miscellaneous Fractures: Aside from skull and spinal fractures, slip and fall victims can suffer from other broken bones like hand, wrist, arm, rib and ankle fractures. Many of these fractures require surgery and fixation.
- Ankle, Knee and Shoulder Cartilage Injuries: The sudden and violent jerking, twisting and force of impact in a fall will cause unnatural twisting and turning of joints. Many slip and fall victims suffer cartilage damage requiring surgery. Others also suffer strains and sprains.
Proving Fault in a Grocery Store Slip and Fall:
The owner or operator of the premises that a grocery store is located at can be held liable for damages caused by a slip and fall pursuant to Florida Statute 768.0755. The fact that a statute has been put in place that contemplates slip and falls at places that include Tampa area grocery stores doesn’t make proving liability for a slip and fall accident any easier though. That’s because people who suffer slip and fall injuries in Tampa area grocery stores are expected to use due care and caution for their own personal safety at all times. Both property and Tampa grocery store owners will argue that Tampa slip and fall accident claimants are partially or completely at fault for their accidents and injuries. Here are some of the common defenses that Tampa grocery stores and their insurers allege:
- That the condition that caused the claimant to slip and fall was open and obvious, and the claimant simply wasn’t paying attention.
- All appropriate statutory and common law duties to keep the store premises in a safe condition had been complied with. There wasn’t enough time for the grocery store’s management or employees to learn of the danger.
- The claimant was comparatively negligent. He or she was distracted by a child, a phone call, texting or even looking up to see what aisle he or she was in after asking a grocery store employee where a product was located in the store.
- The victim was injured in a part of the store that was off-limits to customers and non-employees.
After being injured in a grocery store slip and fall, the first defense that the store and its insurer will raise is that you simply weren’t watching where you were going, and you were partially at fault for the accident. Assuming that to be true, you can still have the store held liable for your accident and injuries. For example, if you were 20% at fault for your slip and fall, you can still be awarded 80% of the damages in your case under the law of comparative negligence. Don’t let their insurance adjuster place all of the blame on you.
Contact a Tampa Attorney After a Grocery Store Injury
Contact us right away for a free consultation and case review after being injured in a slip and fall at any Tampa area grocery store. Time is of the essence, so contact us as soon as you can. We won’t charge you a penny of legal fees unless we obtain a settlement or award for you.