Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. Unfortunately, most of us will experience a slip and fall and other accidents at some point in our lives. What’s even more unfortunate is that these accidents are often not the victim’s fault. Imagine walking into your favourite grocery store to pick your usual supplies only to slip, fall and injure yourself on a wet surface. Could you hold the grocery store liable for your injuries? Certainly yes.
What is premises liability?
The law stipulates that grocery stores, among other commercial establishments, must be maintained to ensure the safety of their workers and customers. This responsibility is known as premises liability. It means that if the injuries sustained after the slip and fall are due to the owner’s negligence, victims could be entitled to compensation for losses incurred. In grocery stores, negligence can be due to things like an employee who did not follow protocol or a property owner who failed to ensure that the store is free from harm that could be prevented.
The vast majority of slip and fall accidents that occur in grocery stores are preventable. The most common causes of slips and falls in grocery stores include:
- Wet surfaces, particularly in sections such as where they keep the fresh produce or flowers
- Slippery surfaces mainly due to weather conditions such as rain and snow. Property owners have a legal responsibility to shovel sidewalks, plough streets and walkways during winter.
- Cracked or uneven flooring as well as loose floorboards, loose mats or cluttered floors
- No warning signs, especially when there’s a known hazard along the way but cannot be attended to immediately
How do you prove negligence in a slip and fall case?
The owner of the grocery store has a duty to maintain their premises to a reasonable standard. Failure to remedy any dangers promptly can constitute negligence. In practice, it’s often challenging to prove the negligence of the property owner in slip and fall cases. Most of the time, they will argue that the injured victim had some or all of the fault in the accident.
To determine negligence, you will have to prove that:
- The owner of the grocery store knew or should have known that there is a dangerous or hazardous condition in their premises.
- Even though they knew about this dangerous or hazardous condition, they did not fix it.
- The owner caused this dangerous condition at the grocery store.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side as soon as it’s reasonably possible after the slip and fall accident occurs can help to determine whether your injury was a result of negligence.
What is being done to combat slip and fall accidents in grocery stores?
Slip and fall accident claims can be a major expense to a grocery store, especially when it could have been avoided. Some of the biggest grocery stores have found innovative ways to combat these incidents in their premises and stay away from hefty lawsuits. A few examples include:
- Use of service robots that come with an embedded camera that scans the entire premise looking out for potential slip hazards. This has been implemented in some of the largest grocery store chains in the US. Once the hazard is identified, the robot notifies any approaching customer and then waits until the issue is resolved by an employee.
- Use of robotic janitors that scan expansive aisles and collect data in the process. These robots come with sensors that can quickly perceive anything in their surrounding environment. They have been used in some Walmart chains.
Will these innovations help?
These innovative technologies have helped some of the biggest grocery store chains in the world to address their inspection and maintenance needs every day more efficiently and consistently. Imagine a service robot that identifies hazardous or dangerous situations throughout the store and sounds a warning call to customers. This can reduce the chances of anyone slipping and injuring themselves. These service robots also alert employees to ensure that spills are cleaned properly before they result in a serious lawsuit.
Innovations in grocery stores can benefit not only the owners but also their employees and customers. They give employees more time to assist customers instead and reduce the risk of any potential hazards going unnoticed.