It's always advisable to document everything if you're injured at a grocery store. This helps you build a strong case against the store's management, and they can be held liable for your injuries.
Here's how to document a grocery store injury.
Take Photos or Videos of the Incident
If possible, take pictures immediately after the accident. For instance, if you slipped and fell due to a wet floor, take pictures of the wet area as evidence of negligence.
If there were no visible signs warning customers of the hazard, take a video around the area to prove that the store didn't have any hazard warnings installed.
But suppose you can't take photos or videos immediately after the incident. In that case, you may request someone else to do it and have the store employees write an incident report documenting how the accident occurred.
Get the Contact Information of Witnesses/Retail Store Employees
Ensure you write down the name of the retail store employee you talked to and their position at the store. If you're unable to get their contact information, write down their names or physical attributes. Your attorney may contact them when investigating the incident.
Most importantly, get the contact information of witnesses; your attorney will use their testimony in court if the need arises. The attorney can also contact the witnesses and ask questions about the incident if need be.
Inform the Store Management
If the store management isn't aware of the accident, inform them as soon as possible. The manager should provide you with a copy of the accident report. If, for some reason, they refuse to provide you with an accident report, inform your personal injury attorney right away.
Obtain Footage From Surveillance Cameras
Most grocery stores have surveillance cameras installed in almost all areas inside and around the store. If the grocery store has surveillance cameras installed, you can request the store manager to share the footage with you.
The surveillance footage may help you prove your case. However, let your premises liability attorney know if the manager refuses to show you footage from the surveillance camera.
In that case, the attorney can send the store management a spoliation letter. This letter informs the recipient about a lawsuit or claim and that they are required by law to preserve evidence related to the accident, even if they have the power to destroy it.
Avoid Making Any Statement About Your Physical Condition
First, understand the severity of injuries you may have sustained and begin documenting what happened. For instance, if a grocery store employee approaches you immediately after the incident, don't tell them that you're okay.
Secondly, don't admit guilt or make excuses for what happened. Remember anything you say might be used against you in court.
If you later file a personal injury case against the store, they'll claim that you didn't sustain any serious injury in the store based on what you told the employee.
For this reason, don't make a statement on your physical condition immediately after the accident. Instead, seek medical attention first and let the medical care physician determine the severity of your injuries.
Avoid Making Any Statement to the Insurance Company
After the grocery store management becomes aware of your case, they'll most likely contact their insurance company. The insurance company will then assign a claims investigator who may call you and request a recorded statement.
Avoid discussing any details of the incident with the insurance company investigator. Instead, let them know that your lawyer will handle the claim on your behalf and that they should contact them for any matters relating to the case.
When you provide a recorded statement, the insurance company may use your words against you and deny you the insurance claim. Personal injury law is complex and varies from one incident to another, and that's why it's always advisable to let an experienced premises liability attorney handle everything on your behalf.
Also, don't sign anything handed to you by the store management or insurance company representative unless advised by your personal injury attorney.
Don't Accept a Settlement Offer
If the insurance company representing the grocery store assigns an investigator to your case, they'll review it to determine whether you have a strong case against their client.
They might then approach you with a quick settlement offer if they find out you have a strong case. However, it's highly advisable to avoid signing or accepting any agreement without consulting a qualified personal injury attorney. This is because the true value of your claim might be much higher than what the insurance company offers.
And, once you accept the offer, the case will be considered settled. This means that even if you later find out that the offer was way less than what you deserved, you can't reopen the lawsuit for the same accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention first if seriously injured and not in a position to document what happened. For example, if you're in severe pain, you may request a store employee call 911.
Pro tip: Never ignore the severity of the injury, however small it may seem. For instance, you might slip and fall then assume you're okay even though you hurt your knee a little bit.
Later on, you might begin experiencing pain in other parts of your body, but it might be too late to document what happened.
For this reason, don't fail to document what happened, even if your injury doesn't seem serious. This is because some injuries tend to become noticeable hours or days after the accident.
Understandably, you may want to walk away from the scene after a slip and fall accident to avoid embarrassment. However, doing so gives the grocery store grounds to deny liability and an upper hand if you file a case against them.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If injured at a grocery store and you plan to sue the store's management, you'll need to prove to the court that they knew about the hazard ahead of time. For instance, if you slipped and fell because another customer spilled a drink on the floor, it might be difficult to prove that the store is responsible.
However, if several customers had reported to the store's management about the spill, but they failed to clean it up or place a wet floor sign. In such a case, it'll be much easier to hold the store responsible because they knew about the hazard and did nothing about it.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove your case in court, even if it involves obscure premises liability. This refers to a situation where the accident victim can't immediately tell if someone was responsible for the accident.
For example, if you contact Morgan & Morgan personal injury attorneys, they will:
- Conduct a free case evaluation.
- Obtain evidence to document what happened.
- Establish liability for injuries sustained.
- Establish the value of your injury claim.
- Communicate with the parties involved in your case on your behalf.
- Manage every aspect of the case, letting you focus on recovery.