Supermarkets and grocery stores actually have a significant level of potential liability for personal injuries to customers, and that liability goes well beyond the potential liability from selling foods that cause illness, which should be obvious.
Any grocery store owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to see to it that conditions both inside and outside the store are reasonably safe for both employees and customers, and can be held liable for any injury that occurs on the property due to any sort of unsafe condition, whether they caused the unsafe condition or they failed to alleviate an unsafe condition they either knew or should have known existed.
Vigilance is the key; the storeowner should always be aware of hazards and must take steps to warn visitors of potential hazards that are less than obvious and to guard against hazards if they have reason to believe they could lead to injury.
Among the most common causes of injuries in any grocery store include the following:
- Injuries from accidents involving shopping carts;
- Injuries that occur when customers slip and fall due to liquids and other objects that spill onto the floor;
- Injuries from tripping over objects and displays that are stacked on the floor;
- Tripping that occurs due to sticky conditions caused by a mess that wasn’t cleaned properly or not at all.
- Injuries from products that fall off shelves or displays.
The liability of most grocery stores is much the same as the liability of any business that is open to the public; they have a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment and protect their customers and visitors from injury. Like other businesses, from a big box store to a local mom-and-pop store, supermarkets and grocery stores can be found liable if someone in the store is injured, and it can be shown that an unsafe condition on the store’s property was the cause.
There are a number of factors that can lead an accident victim to show that the store was negligent. For example, if the injured party can demonstrate that the store’s owner or management knew or should have known about the hazard, the store will be held liable. Likewise, if it can be shown that a condition was dangerous recurring, or that store management didn’t conduct regular inspections, or cleanup was inadequate or didn’t happen for a long time after the hazard was discovered.