When you go shopping at low-cost establishment, you can find a variety of bargain-priced items in one location. While shopping for a good deal, the last thing you might expect is a dangerous condition.
If any store or its employees do not take the necessary steps to protect shoppers, you could end up being involved in a slip and fall accident. These common accidents in businesses and stores can leave you with serious injuries like:
- Broken bones
- Back and neck sprains
- Head injuries
- Knee and shoulder joint damage
Slip and fall injuries often need costly medical treatment to get you back on your feet. In the meantime, the pain you experience from your injuries may keep you out of work and prevent you from doing the things you enjoy.
If you were involved in a slip and fall accident at a dollar store, you may also be left feeling financially strained by lost wages and expensive medical care.
Most discount stores offer a number of bargain-priced products in categories like:
- Pet care
- Home goods
- Food and beverage
Safety Hazards That May Occur In Any Store
Although it may be convenient to have so many different products in one location, it can also lead to many different safety concerns too. For example, in the refrigerated and freezer section, broken units can leak water onto aisle ways, as they could in many stores. If left uncleaned, the water can pool and cause you to slip and fall as you pass through.
Discount and dollar stores are often built small to keep costs low. Much like other smaller buildings, aisles may quickly become overcrowded with displays and make already difficult to navigate areas that much more dangerous for you as you shop. You may end up tripping as you attempt to make your way through cramped aisles in a small store.
The soap, detergents, beverages, and other liquid products that are sold can also pose a safety hazard if containers become damaged and cause product to leak out on the floor. As you make your way through the store, these slippery liquids can easily cause you to lose your footing and fall to the floor.
There’s also a concern of objects being left in aisle ways like fallen products and stocking materials like hand carts, pallets and empty boxes. In the tight spaces that may be found in any store, these obstructions could make you lose your balance as you attempt to pass by them while shopping.
Slip and Fall Settlements You Might Be Entitled To
Whether the store should have been proactive in fixing a potentially unsafe condition or whether the customer should have noticed and avoided it -- having evidence of liability will be the determining factor during any potential slip and fall settlements, and will be one of the major factors in the size of the settlement award given to you for your personal injuries.
Here is an example of a slip and fall lawsuit in the past:
In 2014, an Illinois woman was shopping at her neighborhood Family Dollar store when she stepped into a wet area on the floor and fell down. As a result, she suffered injuries to her lower back and right shoulder that required her to seek medical care.
In her lawsuit, she alleges that Family Dollar failed to clean up the wet spot and did not warn customers of the hazard. To help cover her medical costs and other expenses, she is asking for $75,000 as part of her personal injury claim.
Proving a Store Is At Fault
If you have suffered a slip and fall at Family Dollar, or any other discount store, and you can prove that it was caused by the negligence of the store and its employees, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the retailer to recover compensation to cover your losses and/or damages. The key to a successful personal injury claim is successfully proving fault. When you can prove that the store and its employees were at fault because of their negligence, you can successfully prove liability.
After a slip and fall, you should photograph the accident scene. Get pictures of where you fell so it can show why and how you fell. Also, get pictures of any visible injuries. Ask any witnesses to provide written statements regarding what they saw and how you fell. Be sure to get the names of any witnesses along with their contact details.
There could be surveillance cameras in the area. If so, your attorney can ask that any video footage be used as evidence since it will show how long the hazard existed before your fall.
Be sure to establish medical care right away. If you delay medical treatment, it may be more difficult to prove that the injuries were suffered when you fell in the store. Keep copies of medical records as well as copies of medical bills. Be sure to document any missed work and lost wages.
It is important to notify an employee of the store – preferably a manager – about your slip and fall. The store is required to complete an accident report. If your injuries are serious and an ambulance is called, then the police will most likely complete an incident report as well. You need copies of any of these reports so you can show that the accident was properly reported.
Presenting Your Evidence
The first step in getting a personal injury claim underway after a slip and fall at Family Dollar, or any other discount store, is to send a demand letter. In this demand letter, you will explain what happened, when and how it happened, the damages you suffered, and why you believe that the store is liable for your losses. When you send your letter, you should provide copies of supporting evidence.
Along with the letter and the supporting evidence, you will need to itemize your damages. All your medical expenses should be noted. That includes hospital bills, doctor visits, prescriptions, medical devices, x-rays and scans, physical therapy, surgery, and any other medically related expenses.
You should consider any future medical costs as well. You may need future surgeries or future physical therapy. Your physician will be able to tell you if any future medical care will be required.
Be sure to include the details about your missed work and lost wages. You should consider any future loss of earnings, such as future missed work because of the recovery process or if your injuries are serious, consider if you can no longer work or if you must change professions and see a loss of income. Your personal injury attorney will help you add up those losses.
The severity of your injuries also affect the outcome of your case and the value of your claim. Of course, the more serious your injuries, the more compensation you can recover. Serious injuries have lasting effects. That will affect your medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. You want to make sure your damages are all calculated so you can recover fair compensation for your losses.
Calculating Your Claim’s Worth
You will need to review the extent of your damages. Add up all your past and present medical expenses along with your past and present lost wages. Consider if you will have more medical expenses and will have lost wages in the future. Add up all those totals.
Consider if your injuries will cause long-term pain and suffering or permanent disabilities. Your medical expenses should be added up. A multiplier, usually ranging from 1 to 5, will be used to multiply your medical expenses and to come up with the total value of your pain and suffering claim.
After you have the medical expenses and pain and suffering calculated, you will need to add on your lost wages and any future loss of earnings. If you have permanent scarring and disfigurement or mental anguish, those added damages should be included in the total figure. Your personal injury attorney will help you determine what is a fair settlement for your Family Dollar slip and fall claim.
As an example, if you have a spinal injury that will require future surgery and ongoing medical care and that may keep you from returning to the same job role, you should get a larger settlement than if you suffered a broken wrist that will heal in 8 weeks. Also, if the fall was caused by a loose floor tile that the store employees had ignored for three months, the liability is much more evident than if it was a spill that had been left uncleaned for 30 minutes.
The injuries and the cause of the fall will affect your settlement value and how quickly your settlement is resolved. Personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators. If it is obvious that your fall was caused by negligence, and that your damages were directly caused by the negligence of Family Dollar and its employees, then you are much more likely to reach a settlement before the claim advances to court.
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, so your lawyer will not be paid until your case is settled. Your attorney will work to get the matter resolved and will gather the supporting evidence and documentation that you need to prove that the store is liable for the damages that you suffered because of a slip and fall.
There is a statute of limitations, or a strict time limit, for pursuing a personal injury claim against Family Dollar after a slip and fall. Make sure you get your claim underway before time runs out.
Family Dollar Slip and Fall Settlements
While stocking cases of a soft drink in the cooler located in the right end aisle of the store, one of the defendant’s employees accidentally knocked over a promotional display that included six cans of the soft drink.
Three cans of the soft drink split open after making contact with the floor. The employee stocking the soft drink did not see the spill and less than a minute later, a customer slipped on the slick area and fell hard to the floor. Although not negligent, the company settled the accident out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
During a visit with the store manager, a sales representative from a local dry goods company tripped over a mat that was placed over a slick area of the store. The bunched-up mat had already caused two customers to stumble, but not fall onto the linoleum tile floor.
The sales representative learned about the previous incidents with customers and filed a complaint with the company. After hearing about the previous customer experiences, the store settled the complaint for $10,000 to pay for the sales representative’s medical expenses.
A civil court judge ruled against the company in a slip and fall case that involved negligence in maintaining a safe area outdoors for customers to walk in and out of the store. A man in his late 60’s slipped and fell over a patch of snow that the store had failed to remove earlier in the day.
Although there were no witnesses to the man’s slip and fall incident, security camera footage obtained by the man’s attorney demonstrated the company had more than enough time to clear the snow before the slip and fall incident. The judge presiding over the lawsuit ruled in the man’s favor for an undisclosed amount of money.
You Deserve Representation
You deserve similarly aggressive representation to prove your case. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, contact a personal injury attorney. He or she can go up against the corporate attorneys and give you the effective representation you need to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Family Dollar, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.