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Slip and Fall Accidents in Grocery Stores: Who's Responsible
Tuesday, April 2, 2024

It probably has never occurred to you that your stroll around the supermarket and the grocery store can be life-changing. Unfortunately, it can and does to many people when they slip and fall.

If an accident results from another person or entity's negligence, you may have the right to compensation, but the first step towards recovering compensation is identifying the responsible party.

This guide focuses on responsibility in grocery store accidents in Michigan and can help you identify who to sue for damages.

Business Owner

Responsibility for accidents that occur on business premises often lies with the business owner. Business owners are responsible for ensuring invitees (people who enter their premises legally) are safe.

As such, they must demonstrate reasonable care in ensuring their premises are safe. If their failure to exercise reasonable care causes an accident in which an invitee suffers harm, they will be legally responsible for the accident.

Property Owner

If a grocery store is on rented premises, there are situations where responsibility for an accident may lie with the establishment owner. The property owner will be responsible for injuries if the hazard responsible for the accident resulted from the property owner's negligence.

For example, if an accident results from poorly installed railings on a staircase, the property owner may be legally responsible for the accident, as it is their responsibility to ensure that the building structure is safe.

Third Parties

Responsibility for grocery store accidents can sometimes lie with a third party. For example, if a grocery store has contacted a third party for cleaning and clearing spills, any accidents resulting from their failure will have them liable for the resulting damages.

Hazards created by another invitee could cause the invitee to be liable for an accident. For example, when an individual drops a fruit peel, the person behind them trips over it.

Invitee Responsibility

The "open and obvious" doctrine has in the past been a major stumbling block for victims seeking compensation in slip and fall accidents as it places immense responsibility on the victim.

However, a Michigan Supreme Court ruling in late July 2023 dealt a huge blow to this doctrine, limiting situations where defendants could use it to avoid responsibility. However, there are cases where it is still applicable. For example, if the victim walked right into an open and obvious danger while on their phone.

Understanding Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall lawsuits are negligence-based. As such, a claimant must prove the defendant negligent in their conduct to recover compensation.

Negligence has four main elements that require proving to recover compensation: duty to exercise reasonable care over invitees, breach or a failure to exercise the expected reasonable care, causation or the link between the breach and an accident, and compensable harm.

Improving Your Chances of Recovering Compensation

First, seek medical attention for your health's sake and to get proof of injury. Also, gather evidence, including pictures and video footage at the scene, CCTV evidence, witness testimonies, etc.

Getting a lawyer is a critical part of ensuring fair compensation. Besides the expertise and the experience they bring to your case, they also help command respect from the at-fault party's insurers, ensuring that your case starts from an advantage.

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