Shopping might not make it on the list of extreme sports, but it does lead to many injuries in the Tampa Bay area each year. Slip-and-fall injuries are especially commonplace in grocery stores, supermarkets, or grocery warehouses where spills happen frequently. While it might not seem like a serious situation, slip-and-fall accidents are actually quite dangerous, leading to injuries like:
- broken bones (particularly shoulders, hips, and pelvis)
- neck and/or spinal cord injuries
- torn ligaments
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
In addition to these, there are also a wide array of other “minor” injuries that can occur during these types of fall, like lacerations, sprains, and pulled muscles. Even these can lead to ongoing pain, and require medical assistance and recovery time in many cases. If you find yourself on the floor while out shopping, what should you do?
Before you discuss steps to take following a fall, it’s important to understand who is responsible for your fall. In the majority of these situations, the store would be held responsible, as most of these accidents are the result of a wet and/or sticky floor that wasn’t quickly or properly cleaned. This is especially true if no signage was placed as a cautionary measure letting shoppers know there was a wet floor or other hazard. While there are exceptions, for the purposes of this blog we are assuming the store holds the liability for the accident. In that case, you should:
- Get medical help. If you immediately feel pain and can not safely move, have a friend, family member, or store employee call 9-1-1. It’s never a good idea to risk further injury by pushing yourself. If you are able to move on your own, it’s still important to follow up with a healthcare professional as some injuries don’t show up for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.
- Speak to the manager! Be sure to report your fall to the store management, or have a friend/family member take care of it if your injuries are serious and you are being taken away by medical personnel. Be sure you have the name of the manager, his or her contact information, and store information before you leave. Do NOT give an extensive statement or answer their questions about the accident at this time. This is best saved for your attorney.
- Ask the audience. If there were other shoppers nearby who witnessed your fall, it’s important to take down their names and contact information if they’re willing to share. Having witnesses that provide a third party perspective on the accident is very helpful in a slip-and-fall case, and can be a huge resource for your attorney. Another helpful resource? Snap a few photos (or have a friend/family member do it) before you leave the scene. Photos of the accident site, the spill that caused the fall, nearby shelving/equipment that could have caused injury, and other pertinent details are very helpful to have in your file!
Brooks Law Group recognizes how difficult these injuries can be as you attempt to move forward with life. No one should be left juggling medical bills, assistance with daily tasks, and the pain of recovery following an accident that wasn’t their fault. We can’t take away the trauma, or the physical pain, but we can make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve. Our compassionate, experienced attorneys are proud to represent clients throughout Central Florida. When accidents happen, look to Brooks!