Many people assume that if they slip and fall in a grocery store, the store is legally responsible for covering their losses. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Slip-and-fall cases are very difficult to win in South Carolina, and require you to prove that the company had actual or constructive notice that the hazard was on the floor. This notice may be proven by showing that that a store employee caused the hazard to be on the floor, that an employee was aware that the hazard was on the floor, or that the hazard was on the floor for a long period of time before the slip and fall occurred.
In many cases, if the accident was caused by someone unaffiliated with the store (such as another shopper), then the store will not be found to be liable for the accident. For example, imagine that another shopper brings a drink into the store and drops it. You come along some time later and slip in the mess, sustaining injuries in the fall. If there is video evidence that the spill was there for several hours or that an employee of the store walked past it and did nothing about it, then you just MIGHT have a case. However, if you have no evidence of how the hazard got there, how long ago it began, or whether or not anyone in the store was aware of it, then you are much less likely to be successful in your claim.
There are other situations where the store is aware of the hazard, but may have posted adequate warning signs. This is common in situations where someone is mopping or where spills have occurred and the store is aware and has taken action by posting warning signs and addressing the spill. In these cases, the visibility and placement of the signs will be important in determining whether or not you can win your case.
Were You Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident in a Grocery Store?
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident at a grocery store, quick action may help preserve evidence vital to your case. You will want to discuss your case with a South Carolina personal injury attorney from Elrod Pope Law Firm to evaluate the merits of your case, though first you will want to take these important steps.
Identify the Hazard that Caused Your Injury
It is up to you, as the plaintiff, to prove that the grocery store was responsible for the hazard that resulted in your slip and fall injury. This is very difficult to do if you don’t know what that hazard was. You must identify whether you slipped on water, a spilled product, floor wax, or something else entirely.
Identify the Source of the Hazard
You will also need to identify who or what created the hazard. It may have been a leaking roof, a store employee who was mopping, or another customer who spilled a product. This will matter when it comes to establishing liability in your claim.
Seek Video Footage as Evidence
If there is any video footage of your accident, then this can make all the difference in your claim. Many grocery stores have security cameras, and this footage can show what happened, what caused the hazard, how long the hazard was there, and whether or not anyone was aware of it.
Report Your Accident to the Store Manager and Seek Medical Treatment
Much like workplace injuries, it is essential to report your injury and file an incident report. Doing so helps prove that your injury occurred when and how you say it did. It leaves less room for the store to argue that the injury occurred elsewhere or was less severe than you claim at a later date. Seeking medical treatment right away if you need it.
Contact Elrod Pope Law Firm for a Free Consultation
It is always wise to seek a free legal consultation to find out whether you might have a valid personal injury claim for a slip and fall accident. Contact a skilled personal injury attorney in Rock Hill at the Elrod Pope Law Firm to learn more about the laws relating to your personal injury.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.