Last November, a woman and her husband entered their local Wal-Mart to do some grocery shopping. While walking in the produce section, she slipped and fell on a spilled liquid, injuring her ankle, knee and shoulder. After rejecting an offer for minimal compensation from the store, the woman asked me to represent her. After conducting an investigation into the matter and building the case, I negotiated a $15,000 settlement for the woman, considerably more than Wal-Mart had offered her directly.
Proving the Liability of the Supermarket
I practice personal injury law in New York and handle many slip and fall cases with a significant number resulting from slip and falls in supermarkets. Slip and falls cases can be challenging. One needs to prove that the store had prior notice or should have known about the dangerous condition. Insurance companies and juries tend to blame the victim, thinking the person who fell should have been more careful. Despite these obstacles, I find it amazing how often spills go unnoticed or refrigeration units leak water. The produce areas of stores prove particularly hazardous if stores do not keep them clean.
In this case, the woman set off to do some grocery shopping at the Wal-Mart with her husband. They had completed some of their shopping and had moved to the fruit section to pick up some bananas. The woman’s husband pushed a shopping cart while she walked slightly ahead of him. As the woman turned the corner around the fruit stand, she slipped on a liquid on the floor and her feet went out from under her. She fell backward and grabbed the fruit stand to stop her fall. As she did so, she twisted her body and the left side of her body slammed onto the floor. She lay there in pain for a few minutes and then slowly got up with the aid of her husband and another shopper. No one from Wal-Mart came to her assistance.
Our investigation allowed us to build a credible case that the Wal-Mart bore responsibility for the slip and fall and the woman’s injuries.
Settling the Supermarket Slip and Fall Case
The legal process in New York can be agonizingly slow and I work very hard to move my clients’ cases as fast as possible. In all cases, I push for as early a settlement as possible recognizing that not all cases can settle early.
The approach I take and used in this case starts with a thorough investigation. I also worked with my client to monitor her health condition and her recovery. I collected her medical records and when her condition stabilized, I prepared a detailed written Case
Assessment for my client. The Case Assessment reviews our ability to prove the defendant’s liability and estimates the value of the damages. The Case Assessment estimates the expected value of the case and the value of the case in settlement. It also reviews how we would present the case in court.
I reviewed that Case Assessment with my client.
After agreeing on the value on the case and the best way to proceed, I prepared a settlement package for the defense. The settlement proposal shares my analysis of the case and makes clear the strength of our case and the thoroughness in preparing the case for trial. It also includes all the records and files the insurance adjuster needs to evaluate the case. This approach presents our case in the strongest possible light and triggers settlement talks. After some back and forth, the defendant made an offer that met the value of the case and pleased my client. We settled the case for an amount equal to what the woman could have expected to receive had we gone to trial.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a supermarket slip and fall case, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with injuries in a supermarket. I would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. The consultation is free. You can call me at 1-800-660-1466 or email me. You can also visit my website or read more on my blog, New York Law Thoughts.
This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, each case has a unique fact pattern. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes.
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© copyright 2010-2011 by Carol L. Schlitt
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