One minute a shopper is searching the supermarket shelves for her favorite item, the next she finds herself on the supermarket aisle floor, writhing in pain, her leg bent back at a thoroughly unnatural angle. She will be leaving the store on a stretcher. Surgery, crutches, time out of work, and medical bills await her in the future. “What happened?” she asks herself as she lies on the floor. When she fell, she had been looking at the shelves, not at her feet, reasonably expecting that the flat floor beneath her feet would be safe. She looks around, and she detects the cause of her current plight. A cracked soda can lies under the shelves, and its contents have seeped out into the aisle.
Needless to say, this dangerous condition will not remain for long. Once supermarket personnel come to the shopper’s aid, they will not only help the shopper, but they will clean up the hazard.
Photos! Photos! Photos!
In unfortunate circumstances such as these, an injured person is understandably preoccupied with the injury and the pain. But if an accident such as this happens to you, try to reach for your cell phone. Take photos of the dangerous condition that caused you to fall and of the area surrounding the dangerous condition. These photos should document not only the hazard but the fact that the store had not posted any warnings of the hazard. It is important to take photos of the scene before the conditions change.
Pictures such as these will likely be of tremendous benefit to you in any claim that you bring alleging that the supermarket was negligent in allowing the dangerous condition to exist that caused you injury. Of course, if you have no photographs, you can always tell your story. But what if the supermarket employees contradict you and say either that there was no hazardous condition or that the supermarket had posted warnings of the hazardous condition? If you have no pictures, it’s your word (and the word of any witnesses you may have) against the word of the supermarket employees. But if you have pictures, and supermarket employees are not truthful about the circumstances that led to your accident, you can prove that you, and not they, are telling the truth. As the old adage goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words!”
Another step that can help is to identify anyone in the area at the time of your fall. These witnesses may have seen you fall or can describe the conditions on the floor, the lighting or your pain after you fell.
If you suffer a personal injury such as a slip-and-fall in a commercial establishment, you should contact a lawyer experienced in representing injured people such as Benjamin T. King at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey. Attorney King can be reached at 603-224-1988 or fill out our online contact form.