November 06, 2020
A typical grocery store shopper makes many unplanned purchases. Even if people write out shopping lists in advance, they still tend to make most of their final buying decisions while they are in the store. They are heavily influenced by products that happen to catch their eye.
Grocery stores take advantage of this spontaneous shopping behavior by paying careful attention to where they place products on their shelves. This is a proven and highly successful marketing strategy. However, it may have the unintended consequence of increasing the risk of slip and fall accidents.
How Shelf Placement Works
Supermarkets and other retail stores divide their shelf space into zones. The highest level, called the “stretch level,” is above six feet and hard for shoppers to reach. The lowest level, below three feet, is called the “stoop level” and is also an unappealing spot to place products unless they are heavy and bulky and need to be placed on the bottom for safety.
The best level is “eye level” at about four to five feet. This is where products are most likely to attract an adult shopper’s eyes. Brands compete fiercely to get their products into the eye-level zone.
Why Shelf Product Placement May Cause Slip and Fall Accidents
When manufacturers are lucky enough to get their products displayed in the eye-level zone, they want to take full advantage of being in that coveted spot. They may use eye-catching displays to draw shoppers’ attention even more.
The result is that there are many interesting things to see at eye level. Customers walk through the aisles, scanning the shelves, focusing primarily on the eye-level displays, just as the marketers intended. There is little reason for customers to look down at the lower stoop level. The less shoppers look down, the less likely they are to notice a spill on the floor until it is too late and they have already slipped and fallen.
What You Should Do If You Fall in a Store
If you have the misfortune of slipping and falling in a store, take the following steps:
- Do not move. Wait for help to arrive. You may make any injuries worse by moving.
- If you can, use your phone to take several photos of the spill and the area around the spill.
- Record the names of store employees you encounter and any fellow shoppers who identify themselves to you.
- If anyone tells you they saw the spill before you fell, ask them how long it had been there. Make a note of their name and contact information. This is often the most important fact you can learn from nearby witnesses.
- Make sure you report the fall to store management.
- Immediately seek medical attention for any injuries.
- Call us to discuss your legal rights, if your injuries are serious, or you think they may become serious.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Spilled water or other liquid that has not been mopped up, as in the example above, is a common cause of slip and fall accidents. Other common fall hazards include:
Tripping hazards: Merchandise left in the aisles of stores, electrical cords running across the aisles in restaurants, loose carpeting in a home, uneven or cracked sidewalks, and obstacles in a parking lot can all cause people to trip, fall, and become severely injured.
Slipping hazards: In addition to spilled liquids, other slipping hazards include icy or snowy walkways, waxed floors, wet leaves, and sloping ramps.
One out of every five falls causes a serious injury. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, the experienced Houston, Texas, attorneys at Waldman Legal would be glad to talk to you about how we can help.
Compensation for Slip and Fall Injuries
Property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. If you were injured because of a tripping hazard or slipping hazard, you may be able to sue the property owner if they knew or reasonably should have known that the fall hazard existed and they didn’t properly fix it or provide a warning.
Slip and fall injuries may occur in many settings, including in and around stores, restaurants, hotels, theaters, people’s homes, sidewalks, staircases, parking lots, airplanes, trains, offices, factories, and construction sites. Finding out who was responsible for the safety of the premises and whether you can sue is a complex task best left to experienced slip and fall lawyers. We would be glad to provide you with a free consultation and case review.
If you are eligible to sue a property owner, you can seek substantial compensation for your injuries. The compensation may include your current and future medical expenses, current and future lost income, and “non-economic damages,” which may include compensation for your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and your family’s loss of your love, companionship, assistance, and support.
Do You Have a Premises Liability Case?
A personal injury lawyer may be able to file a slip and fall lawsuit based on one of two legal theories: premises liability, negligence, or both. These theories are similar but have some differences. Both involve seeking compensation from a person, company, or government entity (such as a city) that failed to meet its legal obligations.
In a premises liability case, you sue a property owner, manager, or tenant because they did not fix or warn you about a dangerous condition that they knew about or should have known about. In a negligence case, you sue a person, company, or organization because of ongoing negligent acts.
Our experienced slip and fall attorneys would be glad to analyze your case and let you know if you have a good claim for premises liability and/or negligence.
If you become a Waldman Legal client, we will:
- Investigate your slip and fall accident and seek evidence of the other party’s negligence
- Gather evidence from sources such as witnesses, police reports, other first responders, medical records, photographs, and surveillance videos
- Negotiate aggressively on your behalf with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Use our litigation experience to prepare to go to trial, if necessary, to protect your rights and get you the full compensation Texas law entitles you to receive
- Be easy to reach and keep you informed of all important case developments
- Guide you through every step of the legal process.
At Waldman Legal, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured accident victims and helping them stand up against negligent premises owners and their insurance companies. Call us now at (713) 688-4878 for a free consultation.