What to Do If You Fell at the Grocery Store and Didn't Notice Injuries Until Later
If you slip on the floor while you're grocery shopping and fall to the floor, you'll probably be embarrassed and try to hide your accident. Your fright and embarrassment can even be enough to mask the pain you feel from your injuries. Plus, some injuries don't even show up right away. Your neck or hip may not be sore until later that night or the next day. If your injury was caused by negligence on the store's part, then they are liable and should pay for your medical care. However, the burden of proof is on you. Here's what you need to know.
The ideal situation is to talk to the manager immediately. Have someone get the manager before you even get off the floor so he or she can see what caused you to trip. If you leave the scene, a worker could mop up the puddle or remove the tripping hazard. The manager should fill out an incident report that can be used later in court. You can also take photos with your cell phone and gather names of people who saw your accident. If your injury was bad enough to call an ambulance, you'll have documentation from the paramedics and hospital to bolster your case, too.
However, if you leave the scene without reporting it, you'll lose all that valuable documentation. Still, there are some things you can do. If a malfunctioning door or leaking cooler caused the accident, go back and take video or photos of it if the problem is ongoing. You can also get a statement from a friend or relative who was shopping with you that day and witnessed the event. While you can still get documentation of your injuries, it will be difficult to prove you obtained your injuries at the grocery store.
Hire an Attorney
The first thing you should do after getting medical care is to contact a personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to get the surveillance tapes from the store on the day of your injury. If the tapes clearly show the store was at fault, you may have grounds to prove your case. An attorney can help you decide if the matter is worth pursuing. Even if you develop whiplash or some other serious injury from your fall, if there is no way to prove you got the injury at the store, it may not be worth the expense to take the store to court. To find a personal injury attorney, research law firms in your area, such as the Law Office Of Daniel E Goodman.
Settle Your Claim
If the attorney thinks you have a chance to get compensation for your injury, he or she will contact the store or its corporate office to discuss the situation. You might get a settlement without even having to go to court. If the store feels like there isn't enough evidence they caused the accident, their lawyers may want to go to court and let a jury decide the case. That's why consulting an attorney with experience in personal injury cases is important. While you definitely want compensation to help pay your medical bills, you also want solid advice on whether it is worth it to pursue your case.
It comes down to documentation. You'll have to come up with reasonable proof that the injury you have was obtained at the store as a result of negligence. Documentation of the accident is more important than documentation of your injuries since the store will argue that you could have injured yourself anywhere since you didn't report your fall to the store manager. Video footage and eyewitness accounts will go a long way towards helping you build a case.