I Was Injured by Spilled Liquid or Produce at a Grocery Store. Can I Sue?

spilled liquid accident

By reading this article, you will learn:

  • How serious and frequent slip and fall accidents are.
  • The conditions that must be met for you to have a successful slip and fall lawsuit at a grocery store in Indiana.
  • Steps you should take if you have been injured by slipping and falling on spilled liquid or produce at a grocery store.

While grocery shopping, you have probably heard the ubiquitous “Clean up on aisle six!” on the intercom. Or perhaps you have noticed small triangular yellow “Caution: wet floor” signs, replete with their outlines of unfortunate stick figures launching themselves through the air towards certain injury. There is a reason that grocery store managers are so quick to clean up or warn about spills on their premises.

  • According to the NFSI (National Floor Safety Institute), over one million victims of slip and fall accidents visit the emergency room every year, 12% of 8 million fall related visits.
  • Falls represent 40% of all nursing home admissions and are the sixth leading cause of death among people aged 70 years or older.
  • The vast majority of grocery store managers and their staff are conscientious about keeping their premises safe, but sometimes, they make mistakes or are careless.

Can I sue?

If you have fallen because of spilled liquid or spilled produce and if you have injured yourself, yes, you can sue.

The type of case your attorney will pursue is called a premises liability lawsuit. In order to receive compensation, a few conditions must be met:

  • The produce or spill must have caused your fall.
  • The fall must have resulted in injury.
  • As a result of the injury, you have suffered damages.
  • The store owner or manager (or staff members) either knew or should have known about the spill.
  • The store owner, manager, or staff members did not clean up the spill or post obvious warnings.
  • If the slippery surface is caused by a leak in a freezer or other equipment, it is accepted that the store should have known because it is their equipment.
  • If another customer drops a bottle of olive oil right next to you and you immediately slip, you would be hard pressed to prove that the store should have cleaned it up in that brief few seconds. They are not expected to have precognition.
  • If, on the other hand, the oil had been on the floor for a while, it is more likely that your attorney will be able to prove that the store should have known about it and was negligent.

Proving a premises liability claim can be difficult. At Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, we have the knowledge, experience, skills, and resources to handle any slip and fall claim. Don’t let your slip and fall injury be swept under the rug; you and your loved ones deserve to be compensated.

It would be nice if the owner of the supermarket heard about your injuries, said, “Oh that’s on us; we totally messed up. Here is a huge sum of money!” but that is extremely unlikely. If you can’t come to a fair settlement, your attorney will need to prove liability:

For example:

  • Are there witnesses who can attest to how long the spill or produce existed on the floor before you slipped? They will be deposed.
  • What does the incident report say? (This is why it is important that you look around to see what caused your fall and why you shouldn’t say anything like, “Oh, I’ve always been clumsy!” out of embarrassment and in the pain of the moment.)
  • Is there surveillance footage? This could show when the spill occurred and also show how you fell.
  • Are there photographs of the liquid or produce on the floor either before or after your fall?
  • What is the store’s standard operating procedure? For example, if the floors are supposed to be checked or swept every 30 minutes and surveillance footage shows that it didn’t happen, they were negligent.

Can I help my case?

You are probably not reading this article from a prone or supine position on the supermarket floor, post-slip, but just in case you are, here is how to handle things from this moment:

  • Report the fall and tell people about the liquid or banana peel or crushed tomato on the floor that caused your slip.
  • Make sure that they write it in the incident report.
  • If you can, take pictures on your cell phone from multiple angles (or have someone else do this for you).
  • Ask for names and contact information of all witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Keep in mind the fact that some injuries are not necessarily visible or immediately apparent (like whiplash, concussion, or back injuries).
  • Follow your doctor’s advice.
  • Preserve the clothes and shoes that you were wearing at the time of the fall in a plastic bag. You may need to defend yourself if the insurance company claims that your apparel contributed to your fall.
  • Keep all medical documentation.
  • Stay off of social media. If you are in pain, you don’t want a photograph of the one second you laughed to be used as evidence down the road that you weren’t in pain.
  • Take photographs of your injuries (for example, if you have bruises or a black eye).
  • Keep a pain diary.
  • Consult an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. The property owner may tell you that he is taking care of all your expenses, and he may be telling the truth. However, you need to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure you are not forfeiting any of your legal rights.

What can I seek compensation for?

Pursuant to Indiana’s premises liability laws, a victim may claim financial damages and noneconomic damages for a fall.

Financial damages include:

  • Medical expenses, including emergency services, hospital stays, physicians, surgeries, medical equipment, physical therapy, counseling, etc.
  • Loss of income, including loss of future income and decreased earning potential
  • Ongoing medical and personal care for a permanent impairment or disability
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs, over the counter medications, help with household chores, and home modifications to accommodate an impairment

Noneconomic damages include:

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Permanent impairments
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Development of phobias, such as of heights or of falling
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium

It is very important to document all damages and losses carefully for a slip and fall accident. The PBAR legal team assists you in tracking expenses and documenting losses to increase your chance of recovering maximum compensation for your slip and fall claim.

We Specialize in Helping Slip and Fall Victims Like You!

Contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC by calling 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 to request your free case consultation with an Indiana premises liability lawyer.