Slipped and Fell in a Store? Can You Make a Claim?
It’s the last thing you needed to happen. It’s not just you’ve had enough with New Jersey weather. In fact, the bizarre mix of snow and thunder has everything to do with the reason you slipped and fell in the store. If you didn’t need to worry about having essentials on hand, you would not be injured. Now you have more than a few concerns. Can you make a claim?
It’s not like you were in one of the big-name grocery stores. After all, you’ve heard that there’s not usually an issue reporting accidents to them. However, you were in one of the many local bodegas located in cities like Elizabeth and Newark. Does the fact that you went there to pick up some groceries and snacks hurt your chances of pursuing a lawsuit?
Small retail businesses like bodegas—also called delis or mom-and-pop stores—traditionally occupy a small retail space and have narrow aisles packed with merchandise, thus making it challenging for customers to move about. Nevertheless, these stores also have some responsibilities. In particular, you are considered a business invitee and should have some expectations. The bodega owner must ensure your safety.
How does a typical accident occur in a store? Here’s an example. You don’t see the soda leaking onto the floor from a plastic 64-ounce bottle sitting on a shelf. Before you realize it, you slip and fall to the floor. Ultimately, you find out your left arm is broken. The injury is so severe that you need surgery. Later, you learn that someone had reported the hazardous condition hours before you fell. You are more than a little angry that the sticky substance caused your fall.
When it comes down to it, there will be lots of questions. Who is at fault? How long did the dangerous condition exist? When did store personnel learn of the hazard? Was anything done to prevent your fall?
Slip and fall accidents
A fall at a store, such as a bodega or large grocery or retail store, can result in serious injuries that require medical treatment. Most commonly, such falls can cause in a back or head injury or broken bones.
Dangerous conditions at stores that minimize safety and can cause a slip and fall accident include:
- Wet floors
- Torn carpeting
- Open holes or gaps
- Cracked or icy sidewalks or steps
- Insufficient lighting
- Lack of—or defective—handrails
- Construction debris.
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident in a store, your claim falls under the part of the law that deals with premises liability. The onus is on store management or property owners to make their business safe for the public based on a standard called “duty of care.”
If a store owner actually created or caused the dangerous condition that caused a slip and fall—and failed to take reasonable steps to correct that condition—they can be held liable damages. Additionally, store management should be on the lookout for potential hazards and fix them.
Meanwhile, a premises liability case in New Jersey has requirements in determining whether there is a case—and who is at fault. First of all, this includes the necessity to prove that a dangerous condition existed. Next, there must be evidence that a property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous situation before an accident took place. It will also be critical to determine whether or not the customer was careless in not seeing or avoiding the dangerous condition.
We Can Help
If you were injured from a fall due to store owner negligence, it’s essential to work with a New Jersey slip and fall attorney to help you understand your accident claim. Premises liability cases can be difficult and are often disputed. Contact the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo to schedule an appointment to discuss the circumstances of your accident.