- Medical expenses (e.g. ambulance bills, hospital bills, doctors’ bills, etc.)
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property Damage
Throughout this article I use the words “gas station” and “convenience store” interchangeably. For purposes of this article, they mean the same thing.
Will the gas station pay your medical bills if its negligence did not cause you to slip or trip and fall?
Maybe. A gas station may have a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy with medical payments (“Medpay”) coverage. If it has Medpay coverage, it will pay for your medical expenses even if the convenience store was not negligent.
Medpay coverage is different from liability coverage in a CGL insurance policy.
Report Your Slip or Trip and Fall to the Gas Station
You should immediately report your accident to the gas station or convenience store attendant.
You do not want the gas station’s claims adjuster to argue that you have no proof that you slipped and fell there.
Take Pictures and/or Video
You should expect the gas station employees to deny that there was a dangerous condition on the floor that caused you to slip and fall. They may admit that there was a dangerous condition on the floor, but you want color photos and/or video to prove it.
The injured person’s testimony is very important to a slip and fall case. However, having pictures is 100 times better than only having your testimony of your fall based on your memory.
Many slip or trip and falls happen inside gas station bathrooms. A convenience store or gas station owes two duties to invitees for its restrooms. They are the duty to:
2. Duty to warn of any dangerous conditions in the restroom.
If they breach either of these duties, and you are injured, you may have a case.
Those two duties also apply to the entire gas station or convenience store premises.
Premises Leased to a Third Party
At some larger convenience stores, part of the store may be leased to a third party. For example, some convenience stores lease part of the premises out to a sandwich shop.
The store owner, operator and/or the third party may be liable if their negligence caused your slip and fall. A written contract between these parties may discuss who is responsible for maintaining the premises.
You are only likely to see the written contract if you sue one of the parties.
Some convenience stores have video surveillance. If so, the slip and fall victim should send the store a letter requesting that it preserve the video for the entire gas station for at least 1 hour before and after the accident.
You should send this letter via certified mail return receipt. In a bigger case, you may also want to have a process server hand deliver it.
Slip and Falls at Gas Stations and Convenience Stores
A gas station may have oil or gas on the pavement where customers fill their tanks with gas. If the gas station knows that it is on the floor, or should know, the gas station may be liable for the customer’s injury.
However, if another customer spilled something on the floor seconds before your fall, you may not have a personal injury case.
A gas station may have gutter along the wall. The water may empty into a pedestrian path.
The above photo shows a rain gutter at a gas station in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida. The bottom arrow points to water that came from this gutter.
At a minimum, the gas station should have a visible warning sign that warns customers of this danger. A customer could slip on this water and get hurt.
He or she could break his foot or suffer another type of injury. If so, the customer could make a personal injury claim with the gas station’s insurer.
The victim can claim that the customer failed to warn him or her of the hazard.
The gas station will defend by saying that this water is open and obvious. Fault may be assessed to the injured person depending on whether they should have seen the water before the fall.
It will depend on where they were walking from. It will also depend on whether there were any objects obstructing the view of this water.
The injured victim can argue that this was an accident waiting to happen.
Tripping on Cracks in the Pavement
A convenience store may have cracks in the pavement on its property.
A gas station has duty to fix these cracks. Under certain conditions, it also must warn customers that the cracks exist.
In some circumstances, the gas station may not have a duty to warn if the broken pavement is so open and obvious that the patron should see it before the fall. For example, if there was nothing obstructing your view, the gas station may not have a duty to warn of the cracks in the above picture.
However, it is possible that you may not be able to see these cracks if a car or truck is blocking them. If so, the gas station may have a duty to warn you that this broken pavement is there.
If you trip on broken flooring at a gas station, take pictures of the dangerous condition. Take a close up like the photo above.
Take pictures facing all four directions
Then take a picture facing west that shows the hazard on which you tripped on. (See below).
Take a picture facing south that shows the dangerous condition. (See below.)
Take a picture facing north that shows the hazard. (See photo above.)
You should also take a photo facing east. The goal is for someone to be able to look at the photos and have an excellent understanding of the gas station layout.
You can use these photos in your demand letter to the gas station’s commercial general liability (CGL) insurer. The claims handler will notice that you are more prepared than the average fall victim.
More importantly, you will be prepared.
More Info Slip and Fall Injury Claims against Florida Gas Stations
Check out articles about:
- A case where a man slipped and fell on oil or water at a Miami-Dade or Monroe County, Florida gas station.
- Gas station and convenience store general accident claim information (e.g. includes info about crime victim cases and other claims)
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