For many people, yourself likely included, Dollar General serves as that convenient, one-shop-quick-stop for all the items you either forgot at the grocery store or suddenly need last minute. In most cases, you can get in and out within five minutes, 10 at most. However, during your last visit, you got held up by a slip and fall incident. As a result, not only was your quick trip anything but, but also, you now live with several inconveniences, including a personal injury, mental duress, sky-high medical bills and more.
At Gould Injury Lawyers, we understand how devastating a slip and fall accident can be. In addition to causing substantial pain and discomfort, a personal injury can prevent you from working, which can cause significant financial strain. It can also make it difficult for you to go about your daily routine, engage in the activities you once enjoyed and interact with your loved ones. Together, these consequences can drastically reduce your quality of life.
If you live with the consequences of a personal injury that you sustained in a Dollar General, the law may entitle you to compensation. To explore your legal options and rights more in-depth, call our legal team at Gould Injury Lawyers to schedule your free consultation today.
Dollar General: “America’s Neighborhood General Store”
Dollar General has experienced explosive growth in the past decade, more than doubling its store count and tripling its profits from 2007 to 2020. Its growth has been so visible, in fact, that you may have noticed Dollar General stores popping up left and right and on street corners, in busy strip malls and even along seemingly quiet country highways. The rapid growth gives the impression that Dollar General stores are a somewhat new concept, but the truth is that the corporation dates back to 1939.Dollar General began as a family-owned business by the name of J.T. Turner. It was not until the late 1960s that it changed its name to Dollar General and joined the New York Stock Exchange as a publicly-traded company. Today, the chain — which advertises itself as being “America’s Neighborhood General Store” — has over 17,000 locations across all 50 states. The store sells everything from refrigerated and dry grocery items to toys and clothing, and all at very low prices.
Like other stores in its niche, Dollar General is a variety store that strives to fulfill individuals’ various shopping needs in one convenient location. In addition to fulfilling its own mission, Dollar General stores must also fulfill various legal obligations, including the duty to provide the public with a safe shopping experience.
Dollar General Has a Legal Duty to “Exercise Reasonable Care”
All U.S.-based businesses have a legal obligation to keep patrons safe through the exercise of reasonable care. Though this obligation extends to several areas of operation, such hiring, training, and vendor and product selection, it is particularly important in terms of store maintenance. If a business or any of its representatives fails to exercise reasonable care in keeping the premises safe for visitors, and if a visitor sustains an injury as a result, the injured party can hold the store liable for the injury and associated damages.
It is important to note that the level of precaution property owners must take depends largely on the classification of the injured party. Premises liability law recognizes three classes of visitors: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Property owners owe the highest level of care to invitees, who are individuals who enter a property through an implied invitation for the purposes of conducting a business transaction.
Thus, Dollar General owes its shoppers the highest duty of care. This entails doing the following:
- Keep the property in a reasonably safe condition and free of conditions that could result in injury
- Protect property owners from open and obvious hazards if the risk they create is unreasonable
- Regularly assess the condition of the property to identify potential hazards and correct them
- Give warnings, both verbally and via signage, for dangerous conditions that store owners cannot remedy right away
- Protect invitees against foreseeable dangerous conditions
If the managers or employees of a Dollar General fail to help the company uphold its legal responsibilities, and if a patron sustains an injury as a result, the courts will likely hold the store accountable.
Common Tripping Hazards in Dollar General Stores
Slip and fall accidents in retail stores, in general, are common. However, in variety stores such as Dollar General, accidents occur with alarming frequency. This, in all likelihood, boils down to the fact that Dollar General is a variety store.
Dollar General strives to provide everything customers could possibly need in one place. As a result, the shelves are constantly overflowing, walkways are obstructed by boxes and, in an effort to accommodate more inventory, the walkways are narrow. Some factors that frequently contribute to Dollar General slip and fall accidents, and that likely contributed to yours, are as follows:
- Walkway Obstructions: Many Dollar General stores have small amounts of square footage compared to the amount of inventory they carry. As a result, there is limited space for staff to place and store excess inventory. It is not uncommon to walk into a Dollar General and see boxes sitting on the ground in aisles, or for displays to take up any extra square inch of “free space” available. In addition to boxes and displays, customers must often navigate around staff who are stocking shelves, inventory that other customers leave lying around and more. Needless to say, the tripping hazards that are in any given Dollar General are many.
- Falling Objects: It is not uncommon for Dollar General staff to store excess inventory on top shelves. If not properly secured, or if a customer attempts to reach a top-shelf item on his or her own, merchandise can fall onto unsuspecting victims’ heads.
- Slippery Floors: Most Dollar General stores have carpets. However, in stores that do not, product spills, recently mopped floors, wet floors from the elements and other factors can create slipping hazards. It is important that employees remain vigilant for these hazards and either clean them up right away or put up warning signs until they can.
Damages Available in a Dollar General Slip and Fall Claim
Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries that result in substantial damages. Lawmakers recognize this and allow victims to recover several types of damages via a slip and fall claim. The most common types of damages you may recover in a lawsuit are as follows:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Physical therapy costs
- Pain and suffering
When filing a claim, it is important to consider all the ways in which the accident has affected you. An attorney can help you do this and gather appropriate documentation to prove the extent of your losses.
Get Help From a Dollar General Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you or a loved one slipped and fell while shopping at a Dollar General, the law may entitle you to compensation for your losses. However, just because the law allows you to file a claim does not mean you will automatically recover damages. As a corporation, Dollar General has substantial resources to fight your claim and push you to either accept a low-ball settlement or deny your claim altogether. If you hope to file a claim, be sure to level the playing field before you do so. Partner with a slip and fall lawyer who has experience going up against corporate giants such as Dollar General. Partner with Gould Injury Lawyers by scheduling your free initial consultation today.
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 Tree
- Duane Reade/Walgreens