Supermarkets have become a vital part of everyday life for most people. In fact, a person might visit a grocery store about 1.5 times in one a week. Yet you should also understand that visiting a grocery store could put you in danger. Of course danger lurks everywhere, but there are several thousand accidents in grocery stores every year. This makes it imperative that you know what to do in case of an accident and be aware of Spokane’s most known attorney.
You should not stop going to your local grocery store. But it is wise to know possible dangers, as well as some Spokane personal injury laws, to help prevent an accident.
A trip to the grocery store is not usually associated with an accident or injury. This is partly because most grocery stores do their best to remove possible hazards, or they try to warn customers with visible signs. However, this does not mean that a grocery store employee cannot make a mistake and miss a hazard, like a spill or misplaced item. The safety of a grocery store can also be compromised by the customers themselves. A customer can misplace an item or drop something on the floor and not relay this to an employee.
These types of hazards can lead to several types of injuries, but the most common ones that may occur are the following:
- Lacerations caused by damaged grocery carts
- Blunt falls or concussions due to slips
- Lacerations or dislocated bones due to products falling
- Or Lacerations due to a protruding pallet
- Sprained ankle due to a fall
- Food poisoning of varying degrees due to an expired food item
Some of these accidents can be easily prevented, such as past due dates, which you can simply read before purchasing. Damaged grocery carts can simply be avoided. Yet some of the other accidents are sometimes unforeseeable to the customer.
The accidents above are considered a personal injury, and you will need to prove the grocery store was responsible for the accident.
Detecting Hazards that May Lead to a Personal Injury
Now you know the types of injuries that you can sustain in a grocery store. Surely it is also important to know how to prevent them because no one wants to go through unnecessary pain and suffering. To prevent an accident, one must know where to look. The following are 5 areas that you should pay close attention to.
1. The Produce Area
One of the most injury-prone areas to pay attention to is the produce area. The produce area has many unpackaged loose items. It is the place where a customer or employee is more likely to drop an item on the floor.
Many items in the produce area are damp or can be easily squished, which makes them dangerous if someone steps on them. You should make sure that the area is completely clear of hazards as you walk around the produce.
2. Aisles Containing Liquid Items
You should also be aware of aisles that contain liquid items. Aisles with soda, water, juice, alcohol, detergent, and meat are red flags. Yes, the meat section does need to be included because blood can spill onto the floor.
As you enter these areas, maintain a certain level of caution. Pay attention to the floors for any spillage. And, of course, any spills must be reported immediately.
3. Wet or Dirty Floors
There is not much you can do to avoid the floor of a store. But you can make sure you pay attention to signs and dirt spots. Dirt spots on the floor are usually dry, but sometimes they can be mud spots left from produce. Fresh produce can be slippery and mud, of course, does contain moisture.
Make sure that you pay attention to employees who might be mopping an area as well. Recently mopped floors are especially dangerous and should be avoided.
4. Fallen Objects
All aisles have items that sit a little high, which could be dangerous if placed incorrectly.
You should always make sure that every item that is on a shelf is sitting perfectly within the perimeter of the shelf. You should also do your best to stay near the middle of the aisle, just in case something does fall. Staying in the middle gives you some room to escape the falling item.
5. Parking Lots Can Be a Hazard
Large parking lots can be dangerous for a few reasons. One, the concrete that is used in grocery store parking lots is subjected to a lot of stress. Stress can come from the vehicles that drive over them. Remember that the average vehicle can weight about 4,079 pounds, which can cause damage to the concrete over time.
Another form of stress is the constant change in weather. Extreme changes in temperature, as well as moisture, can cause the concrete to expand or contract. This is because concrete has air bubbles within its structure. These air bubbles absorb moisture and expand but also lose their shape with enough heat.
Concrete is susceptible to the snow or rain season. Those same cracks or damaged patches of concrete can also be the perfect place for ice or water to build up. This can be dangerous to you, so make sure that you avoid these areas when walking to or from the store.
Stress can also lead to cracks on the concrete floor. These cracks can be dangerous to you. Cracks should be taken care of by the grocery store, but they are sometimes neglected. Be sure to pay attention to them to avoid tripping.
Understand that there could be other hazards in a grocery store, so be sure to keep your eyes wide open.
What Should Be Done in Case of a Personal Injury?
A supermarket has what personal injury lawyers call a ‘duty of care.’ This duty can be breached in several ways, which have been covered above. You can do everything that you can to prevent an accident from occurring, but that does not mean that it will not happen. You need to be prepared and know what to do should there be an accident in the grocery store.
The first step that you should take is to call the manager of the store. It is important that he or she sees the accident exactly as it happened. The scene should be left intact until the manager is able to take note of what caused the accident.
Try to get a copy of the incident report, though the manager may refuse to give this to you, which is acceptable. This is a good time to photograph the incident as it is, or film the scene with your smartphone.
The next step that must be taken deals with your personal medical care. If the injury sustained is serious, tell the manager to call the ambulance.
This does not mean that the injured party must call an ambulance. Refrain from calling the paramedics if the injury is not severe enough for one. You may end up paying for those services if the injury was not serious enough to justify that action.
Be sure to ask for the paramedic’s report, the hospital’s admitting chart, and the doctor’s diagnoses if you are taken to the hospital. You are entitled to all of these reports for personal records, and your personal injury lawyer will need them as well.
You, a family member, or a friend should try to find willing witnesses that could help your case. The most helpful kind of witness is a stranger rather than someone close to you. The kind of information that can be helpful to your case could be any of the following:
- Witness noticed that an employee ignored the hazard
- Witness saw a customer avoid or almost fall due to the hazard
- The observer mentioned the problem to an employee and nothing was done to remedy the issue
- Someone witnessed the entire accident
Record the person’s statement on paper or on your phone. Writing down contact information will prove helpful if you need to file a lawsuit against the store.
It is important to get the name of the grocery store’s insurance company, as well as the corporate headquarters, contact information. You should make a journal of photographs and expenses incurred from the injury. The journal should also include wages lost due to the accident.
There is more to consider regarding accidents in a grocery store that you can learn from a lawyer versed in Spokane personal injury laws. The aforementioned tips should help you deal with an accident should you be involved in one. And, even more importantly, hopefully these suggestions can keep you from being in an accident altogether.