When you step into a Duane Reade/Walgreens store to drop off a prescription, you probably do not consider the possibility of suffering a serious injury from a slip and fall accident. Most people are not looking around for potential fall hazards. However, accidents do happen in Walgreens and other similar stores, and they sometimes lead to serious injury. If you slipped, fell, and suffered an injury at Walgreens because of the negligence of the staff, you may have the opportunity to recover compensation for some or all of your losses.
How a Slip and Fall May Happen at Duane Reade/Walgreens
In general, pharmacy stores are assumed safe. However, the inventory and design of Walgreens lend themselves to a few possible hazardous conditions. Some potential causes of a slip and fall accident at Walgreens include:
- Items from the grocery section fall off the shelves and spill onto the floor.
- Pricing signs fall off the shelves.
- Vending machine vendors place items on the floor while stocking the machines. In this scenario, you may question whether the store is liable for an accident or the vendor.
- Customers track in water at the entrance or spill water from the bathroom sink and cause slippery floors.
- Management leaves exposed electrical cords out on the floor.
Walgreens is also responsible for maintaining safe conditions outside of the store. If the heavy snowfall of winter comes to Connecticut and no one plows the parking lot or shovels the walkways outside, the conditions will be unsafe for customers.
The injuries from a slip and fall case may be as mild as a bruised ego or as serious as a broken bone or head injury. Some demographics, namely senior citizens and small children, are more at risk for a slip and fall than others. Some common injuries from a slip and fall accident include:
- Bruises and contusions
- Broken or fractured hip
- Broken or fractured wrists or ankles
- Knee injuries, particularly for those with previous knee injuries
- Head injury ranging from a mild concussion to a traumatic brain injury, such as a hematoma or hemorrhage
- Sprained or strained muscles
The severity of your injury directly affects the value of your claim. More severe cases may require more extensive treatment and more time off of work. Some may even cause permanent or temporary disability.
Possible Recoverable Damages From a Slip and Fall Accident
Damages are the physical, mental, and financial burdens placed upon you from your accident and subsequent injuries. There are two types of damages in a slip and fall accident case:
- Specific, or economic, damages include the costs of current and future medical care, current and future lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident or medical treatment.
- General, or non-economic, damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, loss of consortium, or disfigurement.
The value of your claim comes from the obvious monetary value of specific damages and the determined monetary value of general damages.
How Liability Affects Compensation
Anytime you file a claim or lawsuit for a slip and fall accident, you should expect the other party to claim that you bear either all or some of the responsibility for your accident and injuries. This concept of shared fault falls under the rule of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence affects your awarded compensation by deducting a percentage equal to the percentage of fault your share for the accident.
Each state decides whether to follow pure or modified comparative negligence. Pure comparative negligence states that you are eligible for compensation regardless of the percentage of fault you hold, even if it is more than the defendant. Modified comparative negligence states that you are no longer eligible for compensation if your share of fault exceeds 50%. Connecticut follows the rule of modified comparative negligence.
Duty of Care Owed to Shoppers at Duane Reade/Walgreens
Walgreens, like any other store, owes shoppers a duty of care in accordance with the legal concept of premises liability. This simply means that the store owner and staff have a responsibility to keep the store and the outside as safe as possible. When there is negligence that warrants a lawsuit in a slip and fall accident, four elements occurred:
- The store owner owed a duty of care.
- The store owner was negligent and breached the duty of care.
- The negligence caused your slip and fall accident.
- You suffered an injury and incurred damages as a result of the accident.
The burden of proving the second element in the list falls on you, the plaintiff. To prove that the owner or staff at Walgreens breached their duty of care, one of the following must be true:
- They created the dangerous condition that caused your accident intentionally.
- They knew about the dangerous condition and did nothing to remove it or block it off from visitors.
- They should have known about the dangerous condition because any reasonable person would have known and would have done something about it.
In most cases, the plaintiff uses the last scenario in the claim. To determine the standard for reasonableness, a judge or jury will resort to common sense. They may ask about the store’s policy on safety checks during shifts or question the circumstances surrounding the accident. Some questions might include:
- Did poor lighting contribute to the accident?
- Was the object that caused your accident on the floor for a legitimate reason? Was it there longer than necessary?
- Could the accident have been prevented if a barrier was present?
- Was the location of the hazard obvious?
If any of these questions answer in your favor, you could have a strong case for your claim.
Advantages of Hiring a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
When a slip and fall accident causes an injury, the aftermath may be physically, mentally, and financially devastating. When the accident happened through no fault of your own, you add the burden of filing a lawsuit against the negligent party. This is when you may benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney. Consider the advantages that attorneys bring to your claim:
- They handle the insurance company and other attorneys for you.
- They have the negotiation skills necessary to better your chances of settling outside of court for a fair amount.
- They conduct an investigation into your accident to find any evidence you may have missed.
- They can advise you through the legal process and ensure that you understand your rights.
- They often work on contingency, which means that they do not ask for payment upfront, and they only get paid when you do.
- They provide professionalism and objectivity during an emotionally charged time.
- They have access to resources, such as medical experts.
- They understand the value of your claim, including the worth of the non-economic damages caused by your injuries.
If you suffered an injury from a slip and fall accident at Duane Reade/Walgreens and someone else was at fault, you deserve compensation for the losses you incurred. With the help of a team of experienced and dedicated premises liability lawyers, you could be on your way to healing physically and financially. The attorneys at Gould Injury Law are passionate about getting you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us 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:
- Basking Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Big Lots
- Burger King
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree