Every day, thousands and thousands of people go to the grocery store or corner market to buy food and other items that they need for daily life. For the most part, these visits are the same. People enter the store, pick out the items they wish to purchase, check out at the cash register and then leave the store to go home and enjoy their purchases. However, not every visit to the grocery store is without incident, as there are dangers inherent to grocery stores, some hidden and some are more obvious.
Some may sneer at these sorts of incidents, but the fact remains that premise liability incidents occur frequently and local residents are hurt all the time as a result.
As most people know, grocery stores stock produce for customers to purchase. Most produce displays are set up in a way to be attractive to the consumer, without regard to safety. It does not take much for a piece of fruit, like a grape, to get knocked off the display and end up on the floor. Once the grape is on the floor, it becomes a slipping hazard. When a grape is squashed, it becomes slippery and may be enough to cause a customer to slip and fall.
Similarly, grocery stores stock items in glass jars, like pickles, mayonnaise and olives. These types of items pose a double danger. First, another customer may knock a glass jar off the shelf, and very few of them will alert the store personnel. They will simply walk on as if nothing happened. The broken glass creates an obvious hazard, as it may cut anyone that touches it. Additionally, the contents of the glass jar is now spread on the floor, and may not be visible. Like the grape, this becomes a slipping hazard where you may unintentionally fall. This type of situation is arguably worse than that of the grape, because you may fall onto the broken glass, making the injury worse.
Second, glass jars may be stacked precariously on high shelves, or on eye-catching displays. The grocery store’s stocking personnel may not consider the consequences when they are stacking mayonnaise jars on a high shelf or on top of display, but many people have been injured when a glass jar or other food item falls from a high area and hits them. It may seem like a falling jar would not cause much of an injury, but glass jars can be very heavy and, particularly with elderly customers, it may not take much to cause an injury.
All grocery stores have refrigerated and frozen sections, where they keep meat, dairy items and other food that must be kept cold. All of the refrigerated and frozen displays create a lot of condensation. The displays are designed to deal with the condensation, so that it does not become a hazard. However, as many people can attest, machines can break. When these freezer and refrigerator machines break, they may begin to leak water onto the floor nearby without anyone noticing. A large puddle on a tile floor can be very, very slippery and may cause customers to fall.
It is always important to be aware of the dangers that may be involved with your typical trip to the grocery store. However, even those that are aware of the dangers may not always escape injury, and when that happens, the store and its insurance company should be held responsible.
All New Yorkers who are hurt in a grocery store accident should take a moment to call the legal professionals at Leav & Steinberg to learn more about how the law applies in your case.