Why Pursuing Compensation for a Grocery Store Slip and Fall May be Difficult
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Mar 09, 2020 in Premises Liability
When a slip and fall happens in a grocery store because of unsafe conditions on the property, injuries may occur. However, these claims are often difficult to prove.
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak explains some of the difficulties victims face when pursuing a negligence claim against a grocery store.
Request a free, no-obligation slip and fall accident consultation and speak with one of our qualified attorneys to find out if you may have a valid premises liability claim. We charge no money up front to represent you and do not get paid unless we achieve compensation on your behalf.
Plaintiffs Must Prove Negligence
The burden of proof for a slip and fall accident falls on the accident victim, or plaintiff, during the legal process. As the plaintiff, you must establish not only that the defendant owed you a duty to take reasonable steps to keep you and others from being injured, but also that there was a breach of that duty and that the breach was the cause of your injuries. This can be challenging without an attorney who understands the legal theory of negligence and how to gather evidence to substantiate your claim.
In a grocery store slip and fall accident, you, or your attorney, must be able to show that the grocery store manager failed in his or her duty to take reasonable steps to keep patrons safe on the premises. This means proving that he or she either knew or should have known about the hazardous situation that caused your accident.
In the case of a slip and fall accident in a grocery store, negligence may include:
- Improperly stacked goods
- Failure to clean up messes caused by product spills
- Failure to keep floors dry
An experienced attorney will be able to determine whether the theory of negligence applies and help victims obtain evidence, such as camera footage and inspection logs, to support that claim.
How Indiana’s Modified Comparative Fault Applies
In Indiana, victims may share a portion of liability for an accident. In a slip and fall, this could mean that if it was a rainy day and there was a good chance that the floors may be wet, a victim could share liability for not taking greater care when walking on a wet floor.
If a plaintiff was less than 51 percent at-fault for an accident, he or she may still recover damages. In this example, your attorney understands how to help limit your degree of liability and dispute the defendant’s claims with evidence that you did your part to avoid harm while on the grocery store’s property.
If you are assigned part of the blame for the accident, you may still be compensated, but your total award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded a $10,000 settlement, but are assigned 20 percent liability, your award is reduced by $2,000. Your total award would then be $8,000 in compensation for your injuries.
After suffering an injury in a slip and fall accident, you may be in shock and unsure of what to do next. However, if you are able to safely do so, obtaining evidence at the scene of the accident can help to strengthen your claim. Types of useful evidence could include:
- Filing an accident report or calling 9-1-1
- Photographic or store video footage of the accident scene
- Eyewitness contact information and statements
- Pictures of your injuries
- Medical records, which is one reason you should get treatment immediately
Did the shop owner have an inspection plan in place?
Indiana courts permit grocery stores to submit their daily inspection plans to refute claims they were negligent. However, the store’s procedures must be followed accordingly in order to use it as documentation to dispute negligence in slip and fall cases.
If a grocery store fails to properly follow its plan, the store cannot submit it as evidence, and your attorney may be able to establish that the building owner, store manager or employee were negligent. If a defendant submits an inspection plan, your attorney will also know how to verify whether the store logs are valid, as the inspections may not have occurred as recorded.
Is there camera footage or photographic evidence to strengthen claim?
Video or photo evidence may help you refute the defendant’s claims that the grocery store inspection plan was followed accordingly. For example, the logs may show that an employee conducted an inspection at a specific time. However, if surveillance footage shows that same employee was actually helping customers at the register during that time then the store’s plan may not be submitted as evidence.
How an Attorney Can Benefit Your Claim
At Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak, we are also prepared to handle your case fully and fight aggressively for maximum compensation, even if that means taking your case to trial to fight for a favorable verdict on your behalf.
Our attorneys are also prepared to:
- Thoroughly investigate your claim
- Gather evidence to support a strong argument
- Handle communications and negotiations with the insurance company and other third parties on your behalf
- Keep you well-informed about your case throughout the life of your claim
Additionally, if you have a valid case, our knowledgeable attorneys will make sure you do not miss your filing deadline. In Indiana, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. There are, however, certain exceptions that may cause you to have to file sooner. Our attorneys can tell you what filing deadline applies in your situation during the free legal consultation we offer.
Speak with Our Lawyers About Your Slip and Fall Claim
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident because of negligence at a grocery store, you may be eligible to file a legal slip and fall claim and pursue compensation for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak’s South Bend premises liability lawyers are prepared to discuss your claim and potential legal options when you schedule a free slip and fall consultation. There is no obligation to pursue legal action with our firm. However, if you have a case and decide to bring a claim, there are no upfront fees for us to represent you. Our fees are only paid if we successfully recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf.