Depending on the state, these cases can be difficult. Was it snowing when this happened? Was this during the recent storm? Was snow all over the lot? Was the store open? Had there been efforts to scape the lot?
Winning cases like this depend answers on these and many more questions. Contact a local NY attorney who specializes in premises liability/slip and fall accidents.
Seth Carroll is licensed to practice in Virginia only. The preceding is for information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always call a lawyer directly for advice.
First if your on pain go to hospital. Next, you should always have an incident report created at the time because these cases get difficult if you don't have one. At worst, go back and get an incident report done and get yourself to the hospital
Regardless of where you fell, some entity (whether it be Stop and Shop or the landlord/owner of the shopping center and its walkways and parking lot) has a duty to maintain ita property in a safe manner. Is the store liable? You don't really give enough information to answer the question. Where specifically was the fall? in the parking lot? on the sidewalk? immediately in front of the store. If the latter, the store has a non delegable duty to provide a safe means of ingress and egress to its store. Liability for injuries as a result of a slip and fall on snow or ice are generally difficult cases as you need to establish that the owner had eneough time to remedy the condition. If there was any precipitation at the time of the fall, you might not be able to establish liability under the "storm in progress" doctrine. Similarly if the precipitation had only ended hours before, that might not be deemed sufficient notice. What efforts did the owner take to treat the condition? Was there sand or salt on the ground in the area where you fell? As to calling the store to inform them of the accidnet, I would advise against it. Your report will not have been made contemporaneous with the fall and, at this point, really serves no purose and can only hurt you as you will be "going it alone" with a store rep who's sole objective is to limit potential iability. You are better served by contacting a PI attorney, giving them the facts that you dont' state here and letting the attorney ( if retained) put the store/owner on notice of the fall.
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A property owner (or a tenant who agreed to assume this responsibility in a lease) has the responsibility of keeping its property in a safe condition. When it snows, this means they must take reasonable steps to cure any dangerous condition presented by snow and ice after the storm.
As such, the grocery store or the owner of the property could potentially be responsible for your fall. This would depend on the exact circumstances surrounding your fall, the condition that caused it, the steps that were taken to clear the area (ie plow, salt, sand, etc.) and most importantly whether or not it was snowing at the time of your fall.
Now it sounds as though you decided to walk through a big pile of snow rather than walk around it, and in the process you twisted your back. If that is the case, my opinion is that there is not much to pursue. If, however, my assumptions are wrong and you were caused to snow by a failure to remediate a snow and ice condition then you should immediately contact a local attorney to discuss these facts.
Either way you should probably advise the store of the incident. Keep any statement you give short and to the point.
The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general educational purposes only. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.
My office has handled many if these cases. Much of what was said before is correct. The bottom line: THESE CASES ARE VERY DIFFICULT ...many are lost and some are successful . The cases will simply turn on what the property owner knew or should have known. Visit my website at eglaw.com and see all that we have written about New York slip and fall cases.
NY State has a 24 hour rule / law that gives the store owner 24 hours from when the storm stopped to clear the side walk. That, coupled with the fact that your arm is likely not broken, would mean you have no case.
The store and/or the property owner could have some liability depending upon a number of factors not addressed in your question(s). The owner and/or the store have an obligation to maintain the premises in a reasonable and safe condition. Failure to do so makes them potentially liable to you though there are several defenses to any claim you may bring. For example, a property owner/lessor has a reasonable time to perform snow removal operations. Thus, if it was still snowing at the time you fell, or had just recently stopped, any claim would likely fail. Similarly, claims against snow removal companies are very difficult as they typically have no duty to you. In addition, comparative fault is almost always an issue in a fall case. As i'm sure you can see by the responses, every potential case arising from a fall is very fact specific so i suggest that you speak with an attorney before you speak with the store. Good luck. As an aside, the store may have a "medpay" policy that could pay up to a certain amount for medical treatment.
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Get med attention first, notify the store of accident, contact PI attorney for free consultation.
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