When you stop by your local Chipotle, you hope to get in and out quickly with your order, not slip, fall and hurt yourself. Unfortunately, disaster strikes at the most inopportune time, which may leave you injured, confused and anxious. Gould Injury Lawyers tackles slip-and-fall accidents that happen in fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle. Let us help you understand your rights and support your case, so you stand a favorable chance of recovering fair damages.
With slip-and-fall accidents, victims must establish fault if they want to recover damages. Injured parties must prove:
- A Chipotle employee or the owner knew about the slipping hazard but did nothing to remedy it.
- A Chipotle employee or the owner caused the slipping hazard.
- A Chipotle employee or the owner should have known about the hazard the same way a “reasonable” person should have known about the hazard and done something about it.
Slip-and-fall injury victims must also ask themselves if their careless actions or lack of attention contributed to their harm.
Injured victims must also consider if the property owner acted reasonably. That means regularly taking time to ensure the premises remain clean and safe for visitors. To determine if the property owner acted reasonably, parties ask themselves several questions:
- Does the store have regular practices for surveying and repairing or cleaning the premises? Does the store keep logs of regular maintenance?
- If the person stumbled over a broken, ripped or protruding area of ground, carpet or floor, was the hazard there long enough that a crew member should have noticed it?
- If the victim slipped or tripped over something another person left on the floor, did the item need to be there?
- If there was a reason for the hazard to be where it was when the person slipped or tripped but that reason no longer applies, could an employee have removed or repositioned the hazard to keep people safe?
- Could the staff have put up a barrier or warned customers of the hazard to prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries?
- Was there a better place to store the hazard, or could an employee or the owner have repositioned it safely, without significant cost or inconvenience?
- Did the person fall because of malfunctioning or missing store lighting?
If slip-and-fall victims answer any of the above questions in their favor, they could have grounds for a personal injury claim.
Carelessness, Comparative Negligence & Contributory Negligence
Parties who slip or trip, fall and hurt themselves on another’s property must consider their own carelessness. Injured individuals must have a valid reason for being on the premises and near the hazard when the accident happened. Slip-and-fall victims must also ask themselves if a cautious person would have noticed the hazard and navigated around it or walked carefully through it. Sometimes, stores put up signs or hazard warnings to keep visitors and staff members safe. Plaintiffs should also try to remember if they paid attention to their surroundings when the accident happened, or if they looked down at their phone or became otherwise distracted before becoming injured.
For slip-and-fall cases, most states use comparative negligence laws, which determine whether a person contributed to her or his harm. If parties display carelessness, while they may still qualify to recover damages, they may not recover as much as they would have had they not contributed to the harm endured.
Comparative negligence breaks down into pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. With pure comparative negligence, plaintiffs receive reduced damages based on their percentage of fault. For instance, in a case worth $100,000, a plaintiff who bears 20% of the fault for injuries suffered only receives $80,000 in damages. Under modified comparative negligence rules, plaintiffs do not qualify for damages if found equally or more responsible for their suffered harm. That means victims cannot bear over 50% of the fault to recover damages.
Contributory negligence operates under the idea that a person has an obligation to act reasonably. When this does not happen and the individual suffers harm, she or he could bear full or partial fault, even if the defendant played a part in the incident.
For instance, say Sally slipped and fell on a puddle in Chipotle because she neglected to watch her step. Even though the staff should have noticed the obvious spill, the same applies to Sally. After Sally files a negligence claim against the store, Chipotle may counter with a contributory negligence claim against her. If the company prevails against Sally, she may not recover damages at all, or she could only qualify for reduced damages.
Slip-and-Fall Accident Damages
Other than negligence, slip-and-fall victims also often wonder about their case’s worth. Personal injury damages break down into three categories: special damages, general damages and punitive damages.
Examples of special damages in slip-and-fall cases include actual losses such as physical rehabilitation, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, loss of income and damaged or destroyed property. Victims should thoroughly note all costs and losses incurred because of the accident.
Determining general damages in personal injury cases goes beyond totaling hospital bills and using pay stubs to calculate lost income. Instead, general damages account for loss of amenity, loss of future earnings, loss of future career opportunities and loss of enjoyment of life. If a person can no longer complete basic household tasks and chores because of injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall accident, she or he could qualify for general damages.
Rather than reimburse personal injury victims for their injuries, punitive damages instead punish defendants for especially reckless or malicious behavior. Punitive damages also serve as a warning for other individuals or entities who may engage in similar behavior as the defendant.
Common Slip-and-Fall Accident Injuries
After slipping and falling on another’s property, victims must get a full account of their harm. Knowing common slip-and-fall accident injuries helps plaintiffs and their physicians know what to look for.
If individuals strike their heads during a fall, they could sustain head injuries. Even minor head trauma may cause major complications, making it essential for a physician to check the person for a concussion or other traumatic brain injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Injured parties may have a hard time identifying soft tissue injuries with eyesight alone. Examples of common soft tissue injuries after slipping and falling include ligament and tendon tears and ankle and wrist sprains. To avoid worsening injuries and ongoing pain, plaintiffs must receive prompt medical treatment.
Abrasions and Cuts
While cuts and abrasions sustained after tripping or slipping and falling may look gruesome, they could only require minor medical treatment. Victims commonly sustain cuts on their arms, hips, head and legs after falling. Despite being minor injuries, abrasions and cuts may rest on top of more serious injuries, such as broken bones and head injuries.
Call for Your Free Consultation Today
If you recently tripped or slipped and fell in a Connecticut Chipotle, you could have grounds for a personal injury case. Explore your legal options and protect your rights by speaking with Gould Injury Lawyers. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 203-773-0817. Let us show you how to win and get paid fast.
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:
- Basking Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Big Lots
- Burger King
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree
- Duane Reade/Walgreens