Slip-and-fall injuries are much more common and can be much more serious than many Americans realize. The National Safety Council reports that falls are among the top three causes of preventable, injury-related fatalities in the U.S. In 2019 alone, fall-related injuries resulted in over 8 million emergency room visits.
While falls can happen anywhere, individuals may be especially at risk when visiting businesses that may or may not follow important safety procedures. For many, a routine trip to the grocery store may result in an injury that comes with a lifetime of consequences.
1. Food or liquid spills
Produce sections and refrigerated/frozen aisles are two of the most common areas for grocery slip-and-fall hazards. Misting systems, fallen fruits or vegetables and leaking freezer systems may result in serious but unexpected risks for shoppers.
2. Hazardous flooring
With so much daily traffic, carpeting and other floor surfaces can become dangerous if business owners do not replace torn, damaged or uneven materials. This is especially true at entrances and exits, where there is frequent foot traffic.
3. Lack of parking lot maintenance
Either the business owner or the property owner may be responsible for maintaining reasonably safe parking lots and store access. In addition to fixing potholes or cracked surfaces, this may mean providing adequate lighting and security.
If a store owner or manager was aware or should have been aware of a hazardous condition on store premises and failed to act by fixing the issue or posting a warning sign, the business may be liable for customer injuries. In addition to compensation for present and future medical bills, those injured may be able to recover damages for lost income and the pain and suffering endured during and after recovery.