Most of us probably visit the supermarket on a regular basis. However, members of the general public have not thought much about the dangers in doing so. From the time we enter the market until we leave, we give little thought to possible perils. Here are a few of them:
- Entering the Market
Whether due to water, ice or snow, the entrance to supermarkets is a heavily trafficked area. Patrons track in water, ice, and snow on their shoes. What is the obligation of the supermarket in this regard? They should ensure that mats are laid down to absorb moisture and give patrons more traction. Further, a drying machine is a good idea. For heavier dumps of moisture, the area should be mopped regularly. Failure to do so exposes the supermarket to a personal injury claim or lawsuit for injuries sustained by patrons.
- Breakage & Other Mine Fields
The aisles of the supermarket are often littered with broken inventory, spilled liquids, and other items discarded by patrons. Also, pallets and boxes used by employees often crowd the aisles.
Regarding broken items and such, the liability of the supermarket largely depends upon whether the market had notice, and how long the item was allowed to remain on the floor before the customer slipped or tripped on it. There is no hard and fast time limit. In this day and age of cameras, the supermarket personnel should become notified of an aisle hazard relatively quickly and should clean and remove the item immediately. Often times, it is difficult for the victim to prove how long the item remained in the aisle. The classic case in this regard involved a banana peel. The darker the peel, the longer it was on the floor. However, many items do not provide that tell-tale sign.
Low-lying pallets or boxes present another danger. These items present a trip hazard should they be left unattended by supermarket personnel. Most customers are looking for product on the shelves and will likely not see low-profile pallets or boxes.
- Leaking Items
A leak from a defective cooler, a damaged liquid container, or ice in the produce area presents a slip and fall hazard. Again, the supermarket must have notice of the issue and an opportunity to repair or remedy the issue. Nevertheless, supermarkets have much exposure to injury claims in this regard.
- Self-Serve Items
More and more in this day and age, self-serve items are common in supermarkets. Whether in the produce department or elsewhere, if the self-serve area is such that – due to manipulation of the product by customers, or a bed of leaking ice – the floor become covered in product and/or water, the supermarket must regularly police the area. Failure to do so has caused many a customer to slip and fall, thereby injuring themselves.
Perrault Blair Law Group is the largest personal injury firm in the Merrimack Valley 100% specialized in advocating for victims injured by the negligence of others.
79 Haverhill Street, Methuen, Massachusetts, 978.975.4100, www.PerraultBlairLaw.com