Every year, small and large supermarkets pay over $450 million to resolve indoor and outdoor slip-and-fall claims. These falls cause physical and emotional injuries. Physically, these victims sustain head injuries, broken bones, and other such wounds that often never heal, or at least never entirely heal. The same is true for the depression that many falls cause. Psychologically, many fall victims are so afraid of falling again that they essentially become prisoners in their own homes. The withdrawal often leads to deep depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
These injuries are difficult to diagnose and treat. Furthermore, these claims are legally complex. A Marietta personal injury attorney helps on both fronts. Lawyers connect victims with top-notch doctors who, in many cases, don’t charge anything upfront. Later, when the case goes to court, an attorney is committed to maximum compensation for your serious injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
No matter where the injury occurred, the same legal principles apply. Grocery store owners are responsible for fall injuries if they had a duty of care and they knew about, or should have known about, the fall-causing hazard.
Property owners have the highest duty of care toward invitees. Pretty much every grocery store non-employee is an invitee. Shoppers directly benefit the store owner financially. Window shoppers indirectly benefit the owner financially. Window shoppers mean foot traffic. Under Georgia law, vendors are invitees as well.
This duty requires owners to ensure their floors and other areas are safe. This duty also requires them to conduct frequent safety inspections.
Workers’ compensation usually applies to injured grocery store employees. A lower duty of care applies to licensees, such as children cutting through a parking lot, and trespassers, such as children illegally skateboarding on the premises.
A Marietta personal injury lawyer uses smoking guns, like restroom cleaning reports, to establish actual knowledge. The time-notice rule applies to constructive knowledge (should have known) claims. If a hazard, like a dropped piece of fruit, recently appeared, the owner probably didn’t yet know about it.
For slip-and-fall purposes, most grocery stores, especially large stores in mini-malls, are basically three places.
Grocery store owners usually have exclusive control over the inside of the store. Additionally, depending on the terms of the lease, these owners are usually responsible for black ice and other falls that happen near their doors.
We said these stores “usually” have exclusive control over the inside. Many large stores have standalone retail stores, like fast-food restaurants or eyeglass providers, inside the store, often near the checkout area. Depending on the lease, either the grocery store or the sublessee could be legally responsible for falls.
As mentioned, grocery stores are usually responsible for outdoor safety in the areas immediately adjacent to their entrance/exit doors. The same thing is true for driveways and parkways very near the store. Usually, the mini-mall landlord is responsible for falls and other injuries that happen in common areas, like the main parking lot.