Tripping and slipping hazards are too common in grocery stores. Sprouts Farmers Market, ALDI, Food Town, and other major grocery chains all contain products that easily turn into slipping hazards if not handled properly. Dish detergent, cooking oil, olive bars, milk, and many other liquids all become slipping hazards if they are spilled on the floor. Grocery store employees need to monitor the aisles on a regular basis to check for safety hazards.
Many common activities in grocery stores can become hazardous if they are not performed in a safe manner. For example, the shelves must be restocked on a regular basis. Employees need to make sure they do not create tripping hazards when they stock the shelves and empty boxes containing the products. Empty boxes and unloaded pallets on the floor are tripping hazards for customers. Insurance companies warn stores to not place displays lower than thirty inches from the ground because customers may not see the displays and trip over them. The best way to ensure that customers are not injured is to stock the shelves when the store is closed. If the store is open twenty-four hours a day, the store should stock the shelves during low customer turnout such as late at night.
Grocery stores often sell herbs, vegetables and decorative plants near the entrances to their stores. The plants are routinely watered by employees during the day. If the water hose is lying across the entrance to the store, it is a natural tripping hazard that customers are not likely to see. Warning signs should be placed near the hose to alert customers to its location. An even better practice would be to water the plants before the store opens and after it closes.
Leaking freezers and refrigerators are also slipping hazards if the leak spills water onto the floor where customers walk. Companies sell absorbents to place at the base of refrigerators and other machines that may spill water. If machines have condensation on them, stores should place products at the base of the machines to absorb any water that may collect on the floor.
Steps to Take if You are Injured in a Store
If you are injured in a store, there are steps you should take regarding your potential claim.
Report the Injury Immediately
If you are injured, let a manager know immediately. If you leave the store without notifying an employee of your injury, the store will challenge the validity of your claim. It is extremely important that you notify the store about the dangerous condition and your injuries before you leave.
Take pictures of the scene of your fall. Take pictures of the tripping hazard and the area around it. The store may deny that the tripping hazard existed if there is not photographic evidence of its existence. The store will likely remove the hazard shortly after you leave the scene.
Write Down Contact Information for Witnesses
If there is a witness that observed your fall or the dangerous condition, ask for the witness’ name and contact information. The store may not record the witness information, especially if the witness does not provide favorable testimony for the store. Write down the contact information, so the witness is not lost.
Contact an Attorney Before Making a Claim
Stores have several defenses to avoid liability for an injury on their premises. Speak to an attorney about your potential claim before speaking to a company adjustor about your claim. An attorney that handles premise liability claims will be able to present your claim in the most persuasive manner. The O’Hara Law firm has on several occasions settled claims against stores for three to seven times more than the original amount offered to the injured clients before they hired an attorney.
Patrick O’Hara is a personal injury attorney that has experience handling premise liability claims. Multiple personal injury attorneys have referred clients to the O’Hara Law Firm who were injured by falling at a store. If you have been injured by an unsafe condition at a store, contact the O’Hara Law Firm for a free consultation.