If you have ever stepped into a BJ’s Wholesale Club, you know that you can get anything from groceries to flat-screen televisions. The store is large and full of high shelves stacked to the top. Customers are surrounded by potential safety hazards that could lead to a slip and fall accident. If you slipped, fell, and suffered an injury through the fault of another at a BJ’s store, you may have the chance to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
Common Ways That Slip and Fall Accidents Occur at BJ’s
Considering the volume of items and customers in a BJ’s, the potential for a slip and fall accident could occur in many different ways:
- Wet floors caused by spills in the grocery section, leaking equipment, leaking ceiling, broken toilets or sinks in the bathroom, and water tracked in from outside
- Broken tiles and handrails
- Dirty or debris-covered floors
- Pallets of stock blocking the aisles
- Precariously stacked displays or shelves
- Potholes or defects in the parking lot pavement
- Torn or worn rugs and floor mats
- Stray electrical cords and wires
- Poor or broken lighting, particularly in areas of the store without windows
- Snow and black ice in the parking lot and walkways
- Exposed cords in the electronics section
- Improper use of heavy machinery or a forklift
Employees should have regular shift checks for dangerous conditions that may lead to accidents, but sometimes they are not properly trained or have chosen to neglect their duties. If the result is an accident, then the store is at fault.
Potential Injuries and Damages Caused by a Slip and Fall Accident
One important concept you should remember is that not all slip and fall accidents are the result of negligence. Sometimes people just trip and fall without anyone at fault. Additionally, not all accidents result in injury. To recover compensation for damages through a lawsuit, you must actually prove that there are damages. If you suffered an injury, you likely incurred damages. Some common injuries caused by a slip and fall accident include:
- Sprained or strained muscles
- Internal bleeding
- Head injuries, such as mild concussion
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as a hematoma, fracture, or hemorrhage
- Twisting of the spinal cord
- Partial or complete tear of the spinal cord
- Back injuries, such as herniated discs, compression fractures, soft tissue tears, or tailbone injuries
- Broken bones, primarily in the hips and extremities
However mild or severe your injuries may be, you should seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident. Some injuries cause delayed symptoms and may cause serious damage before you notice. For example, internal bleeding may not display symptoms for hours or even days. Immediate evaluation from a doctor is best for your health and your case. Medical records dated right after your accident act as strong evidence of injury.
Connecticut Slip and Fall Accident Laws You Should Understand
In any slip and fall accident case, there are three laws that directly impact your lawsuit: premises liability, the statute of limitations, and the rule of comparative negligence. You should understand how these affect a personal injury case.
The legal concept of premises liability involves the understanding that a property owner bears a responsibility to keep their property in a safe condition for all legally permitted guests. This rule does not apply to trespassers, and the burden of proving negligence falls on the injured. In most cases, you have to prove that the property owner or store staff know the dangerous condition or should have known of it and did not remedy it in a reasonable amount of time.
This reasonable standard for safety applies to owners of private residences and commercial property owners. Even government agencies may be held liable for accidents that happen on government property. However, the rules are somewhat different.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations places a deadline on the time you have to file a lawsuit. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident lawsuit is two years starting the day of your accident. Delays or mistakes could result in missing the two-year deadline. The court would then almost certainly dismiss your case without review, and this applies to any attempt at recovering compensation for personal injuries and property damage.
The Rule of Comparative Negligence
The most common response from a defendant in a slip and fall case is that the injured person caused the accident, either entirely or partially. The insurer or legal representation for the defendant may say that you were not wearing proper shoes, were in an area restricted for customers, or were distracted and missed the warning signage.
When the question of shared fault comes up, the rule of comparative negligence applies. This rule states that a percentage of the awarded compensation is deducted based on the percentage of fault you bear for the accident. Every state follows one of two types of comparative negligence rules:
- Pure comparative negligence states that you are eligible for compensation even if you are 99% responsible for the accident.
- Modified comparative negligence states that you are not eligible if you are 51% responsible or higher.
Connecticut follows the modified comparative negligence rule. Therefore, if the court awards you $50,000 in compensation and finds you 50% responsible, you only receive $25,000. If the court finds you 51% or more responsible, you are no longer eligible for compensation.
Types of Compensation Available in a Slip and Fall Accident Case
There are two types of damages commonly recovered in slip and fall accident cases: specific and general. Both are compensatory damages meant to make the injured person whole again, and they include:
- Cost of medical treatment
- Cost of future medical treatment
- Cost of lost income
- Costs of future lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment in life
The first four in the list are specific, or economic, damages. You calculate specific damages using medical bills, estimated cost of future medical treatments, pay stubs, and recent tax returns. The rest of the list constitutes general, or non-economic, damages. These have no monetary value until quantified.
How a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer Can Help You
Some advantages of hiring slip and fall accident attorneys include:
- They typically work on contingency, which means they do not get paid until you get paid.
- They understand the complexities of the legal process and can help you avoid mistakes.
- They have negotiation skills that help you reach a faster and fairer settlement to avoid the court system.
- They provide professionalism and objectivity during an emotionally charged time.
- They handle the insurance company and other party’s legal representation so that you can focus on healing.
- They conduct an investigation into your case to find any evidence you may have missed.
- They can access resources, such as medical experts.
- They know how to properly value your claim, particularly the non-economic damages that have no inherent monetary value.
If you recently suffered an injury from a slip and fall accident at BJ’s, you may be eligible for compensation for the damages you incurred. The premises liability attorneys at Gould Injury Law have the experience and tenacity necessary to get you fair compensation as quickly as possible. For fast results from your case, contact Gould Injury Law today for a free consultation.
If you suffered injuries due to a slip and fall at any of the following commercial establishments, our personal injury attorneys could help with your case:
- Baskin Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Big Lots
- Burger King
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree
- Duane Reade/Walgreens