Slipping and falling in a grocery store can be an embarrassing and painful experience. When the accident results in serious injuries, it can also be financially devastating. As an injured victim in New York, you may wonder if you can sue the store for your damages and what the settlement process will be like. Potential grocery store slip and fall settlements vary depending on the circumstances of your claim.
What to Do Following a Slip and Fall in a Grocery Store
The steps you take following a slip and fall accident are crucial. They can impact your claim and how the insurance company handles your compensation claim. Here are some helpful tips to remember following a slip and fall accident.
Document the Accident Scene
Immediately after your slip and fall accident, it is crucial to gather evidence. If you can do so safely, take photos or videos of the hazardous condition that caused your fall, such as a wet floor, uneven surface, or cluttered aisle. If there were any witnesses to your accident, obtain their contact information, as they may be able to provide crucial testimony to support your claim.
Report the Accident
Notify someone in management about the accident and the hazard that caused your injuries. They might ask you to fill out an accident report detailing what happened. You should complete the form honestly and accurately. Request that the store provide you with a copy of the incident report.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. You want to rule out any serious internal injuries and establish a record of your injuries for the insurance company. Keep copies of your bills, medical records, and other documentation, as it will ultimately be crucial evidence in a personal injury claim.
Consult with a New York Slip and Fall Lawyer
Navigating the legal process for a slip-and-fall case can involve complex legal issues. You need to consult with an experienced New York slip and fall lawyer. They can advise you on your rights, the strength of your case, and the best course of action to take. Moreover, having legal representation can increase your chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
Understanding Negligence and Liability in New York Slip and Fall Cases
To recover compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the store is responsible for the accident. In New York, you can typically establish liability in a few different ways:
- Showing that the owner or an employee caused the condition that led to your fall.
- Showing that store employees or the owner knew there was a dangerous condition and did not take any steps to fix it and failed to notify customers in a reasonable and timely manner.
- Showing that the store owner or employees should’ve recognized the dangerous condition because another reasonable person would’ve caught it and resolved the hazard.
The reasonable person standard is a fictitious scenario where courts look to a hypothetical person who follows the expected amount of skill, care, and judgment.
It’s worth noting that New York follows a pure comparative negligence standard. That means that if you are found partially at fault for your accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but are found to be 30% at fault, you’ll receive only $70,000.
Negotiating a Settlement for a Grocery Store Slip and Fall
Once you’ve built a strong case, the negotiation process with the store or their insurance company will begin. This process typically involves your attorney sending a demand letter outlining your case and the compensation you seek. The insurance company may respond with a counteroffer, which your attorney is legally obliged to review with you.
Some tactics that may help you during the settlement process include:
- Being patient. Insurance companies will try to pressure you into accepting a lowball offer, especially if they know you are in financial distress. Be patient and allow your attorney to negotiate for a fair settlement.
- Providing strong evidence. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the stronger your negotiating position will be. Evidence might include photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, medical records, and other documentation. You want evidence that demonstrates the store’s negligence and the extent of your injuries.
- Being realistic. While it’s important to fight for a fair settlement, it’s also crucial to be realistic about the potential value of your claim. Your attorney will help you understand what a reasonable compensation amount may be, based on your injuries and the specific circumstances of your case.
- Preparing for possible litigation. Sometimes, negotiations may reach an impasse, and it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve. Demonstrating a willingness to go to court may make the insurance company more inclined to offer a fair settlement to avoid the time and expense of a trial.
- Highlighting the strengths of your case. Emphasize the elements that make your case strong, such as clear evidence of negligence, the severity of your injuries, and the extent of your damages. This information may help sway the insurance company that they could lose in court, making them more willing to negotiate a fair settlement.
The Settlement Process and Reaching a Resolution
Once you reach a settlement agreement, the insurance company will send a release of all claims form to sign. By signing the release, you agree to accept the settlement in exchange for releasing the store and its related entities, employees, insurance company, and other potential parties from any further claims related to this slip-and-fall accident. You should always have your attorney review the document before signing it. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try and sneak extra language in there that doesn’t accurately reflect the agreed-upon terms.
Once you sign the release form and return it to the insurance company, the adjuster will typically issue a check for the settlement amount within a week or two. You will not receive the check directly from the insurance company when you have a lawyer representing you. Instead, the check will be sent to your lawyer. Your attorney will satisfy any outstanding liens and pay all unpaid expenses. They will also take their agreed-upon contingency fee; you’ll receive the remaining amount as a check.
Contact a New York Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you suffered injuries in a New York grocery store, you could have the right to recover compensation. However, recovering the maximum amount in grocery store slip and fall settlements can be complicated. Don’t attempt to resolve your case independently. Contact the experienced New York slip and fall lawyers at Ferrante & Koenig, PLLC. We have nearly two decades of experience and know what it takes to build a successful slip-and-fall case in New York. Schedule a consultation today, and let us know how we can help.