A Florida supermarket’s carelessness may cause a customer’s injury. If so, the accident victim may have a case.
The case is to get paid for damages. Damages include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Prescription medicine
- Orthopedic devices
- A rental car
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Mental anguish (distress)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
I will discuss these damages in detail later in this article. I wrote an article specifically on slip and fall injury claims against Florida supermarkets.
Much of this article applies to all Florida store accident cases. However, the focus here is on Florida supermarket injury claims.
I have written extensively about claims and settlements with particular grocery stores. I have already written other articles about some big box stores that sell groceries. Some of them include Publix Supermarkets, Winn Dixie stores, Walmart stores and Target.
The most typical accidents involving Florida supermarkets are:
1. Slip and falls.
Learn about slip and fall injury claims against Florida supermarkets.
Supermarket employee or customer pushes a cart into a customer (or over a shopper’s foot).
If an employee pushes a shopping cart into you and breaks your hip or ankle, the grocery store has to pay for your injuries. Even if an employee pushes a cart quickly and it almost hits you, and this causes you become injured because you fall or hit something, you may have a great case.
So let’s say that you are walking into a grocery store and you see, from the corner of your eye, a store employee who looks like he is about to hit you with a shopping cart.
You are afraid that you are going to be hit by the cart so you jump or run out-of-the-way and you hit your knee on something or you fell on her knee or ankle.
You may have a case because supermarket employees have a duty to safely move the shopping carts around the inside and outside of the store. Your case becomes more difficult if the employee who is pushing a shopping cart is many feet away from you and you get scared and trip and fall.
The standard is whether it was reasonable for you to quickly move out-of-the-way or not.
As in any case, surveillance may help or hurt your case. If the employee says that he was not close to you or that you overreacted, surveillance may show that it was reasonable for you to quickly move out-of-the-way to avoid being hit by the carts.
Now, even if an employee who is pushing a shopping cart hits you, your case against the store is not necessarily a slam-dunk. Although most claims are settled before trial, the store can still argue that even if they were at fault you are partially at fault for being distracted by talking on a cell phone or not looking where you were walking.
In Florida, as discussed above, the value of your case is reduced by your percentage of fault.
So let’s say that you quickly move out-of-the-way to avoid the shopping cart fall down. Let’s assume the full value of the neck injury for settlement purposes is $20,000. If a jury thinks that you were 50% at fault for not paying attention, you are entitled to get $10,000 (which is 50% of $20,000).
So let’s assume that the grocery store – or its insurer – hires a doctor who says that this incident could not have caused your neck injury.
Let’s assume that the treating doctor says that your neck injury is related to the incident. You then may have to discount your case because it is possible that a jury could believe the doctor that the store hires.
You may have to discount your case by another 50% or so. That would bring the value of your case to $5,000. I arrived at this amount by using the following formula:
Settlement = (Value of neck injury) x (% of Supermarket’s fault) x (% chance that jury believes your doctor)
If we plug-in the numbers:
Settlement Value = ($20,000) x (50%) x (50% chance that jury believes your doctor)
Settlement Value = $5,000
The above formula assumes that the grocery store was negligent (at fault), though you were partially at fault as well. Also, this is just an example and there are no guarantees that you will get this amount.
Now, if you are 15 years old and you are diagnosed with a herniated disc, there is a higher likelihood that their claims adjuster will believe that this injury was caused by the accident. This is because most 15 years do not have a herniated disc.
As you can see, comparative fault is one of the many reasons that it is tough for me to answer the question of how much your case is worth if you were hit or almost hit by a shopping cart in a supermarket and were hurt as a result.
If they have surveillance video and they give you the video before you file a lawsuit, and it shows the incident then it makes it much easier to know whether you have a case.
Also, the adjuster may be straightforward and tell you that they are not denying liability, which generally is a good sign and means that they are admitting some fault at least for negotiation purposes before a lawsuit suit is filed.
You can read about an actual case that I had against Publix where the gross settlement was $17,000 after a store employee ran over my client’s toe with a pallet cart.
If another shopper pushes a shopping cart into you, generally speaking the store is not responsible to pay for your damages. You should send a letter to the at-fault shopper requesting the name and policy number of his or her homeowner’s insurance.
The at-fault shopper’s homeowner’s insurance should pay for your damages. The homeowner’s insurer may argue that you were at fault for not looking where you were going. The value of your case may be reduced by your fault.
An object in a Florida supermarket may fall on a customer. It may cause the shopper to get hurt. If so, the victim may have a case.
The customer needs to show that the supermarket’s carelessness caused the object to fall.
Customer pushes a cart into another shopper
If another customer hits you with a shopping cart, you also may have a case against them. The most important thing is to get their contact information (including their driver’s license) and report the claim to the supermarket.
This can help should the other customer say that the incident never happened. You should also ask them to keep surveillance of the incident.
Once you get the other customer’s contact information, you can send a letter to the other shopper and ask for his or her homeowner’s insurance company name, policy number and limits of liability.
Once they provide that info to you, you should send a letter in writing asking their insurer to send you its declaration page, which shows the name of the insurer and the coverage limits.
They may have State Farm insurance or another insurer, who may provide coverage to pay for your damages (medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering).
Supermarket truck driver causes someone’s injury
If you are hit by a supermarket truck, you should immediately send a letter requesting they preserve all evidence (such as event data recorders, driver logs and more). This evidence can be critical to the success of your personal injury case against them.
Unlike many people who own cars in Florida, most supermarkets have enough money or liability insurance to cover your personal injury claim.
If a supermarket truck hits and injures you in Florida, you should make a PIP claim if you’re covered by PIP. This is true even if the other supermarket employee driver is at fault for the accident.
If a supermarket truck hits and injures you in Florida, then in most, but not all, situations you will have to prove that you have a permanent injury in order to get non-economic damages (e.g. pain and suffering damages, etc.) and hopefully money.
Learn when you can get pain and suffering damages in a Florida auto accident. If a supermarket truck hits you, then you should immediately make a claim against all parties who you may be at fault.
This would include, but it not limited to, making a claim under any auto insurance policy that has uninsured motorist coverage to which you are an insured. This is because a supermarket liability policy will most likely have a self-funded retention (SIR) provision.
In the past, I have seen that Publix and Sedanos have a SIR.
Which Florida supermarkets may have an SIR?
Coming Soon: Learn about claims against Whole Foods Market.
Who handles Florida injury claims for Whole Foods Market?
Gallagher Basset handles personal injury claims for Whole Foods in Florida.
Whole Foods Food Poisoning Cases in Florida
Per Wadsworth Huott, a lady sued Whole Foods Market in Miami Dade County, Florida. She sued in 2007. She claimed that a product gave her food poisoning.
Whole Foods won on summary judgment. The lady’s case was dismissed before trial.
My thoughts: Food poisoning are difficult. The injured victim should preserve the food. Do not throw it away.
The law firm that defended Whole Foods in both of these cases has multiple offices. They are located in Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. They are a 20+ attorney firm.
As of February 2015, that firm is defending Whole Foods in Miami slip and fall accident cases. I do not know if they represent Whole Foods throughout all of Florida.
Where are Whole Foods Market stores in Florida?
Whole Foods Market has many Florida stores. They are located in Pinecrest, Coral Gables, Miami Beach (South Beach), North Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Miami (Downtown Miami), Orlando, Tampa, Winter Park, Sarasota.
They also have stores in Carrolwood (Tampa), Clearwater, Naples, Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
Fresh Market probably has a SIR for Florida accident claims.
You should argue to your UM insurer that because the supermarket has a SIR, its their truck should be treated the same as an uninsured motorist. The victim’s UM claim starts from dollar one.
We used this argument against a large trucking company that had a self-retention policy of $250,000. The at-fault company had plenty ($1,750,000) of liability insurance above the SIR of $250,000.
I was able to collect $10,000 from my client’s UM insurer, Progressive. I also settled the case for $200,000 with the self-insured and the insurer, Travelers.
If the UM insurer denies your claim, you should file a civil remedy notice of insurer violation against the UM insurer. Be sure to send the notice to your UM insurer. It has 60 days to respond to your notice. This will put pressure on the UM insurer to pay.
Never give a recorded statement to the claims adjuster.
It can be used against you. You are not required to give the supermarket injury claims adjuster.
A recorded statement and it will more often than not hurt your case more than it helps it. Do not give one!
A personal injury case against a supermarket is different from a case involving your own car insurance company. If you are involved in an auto accident, you may be required to give a recorded statement to your own car insurer.
A victim does not have a contract with a grocery store. Therefore, the person who is hurt does not have to give a recorded statement.
Talking to the claims adjuster (that represents the store) can generally only hurt your case.
This is especially true if you speak with the claims adjuster from the store early after your “accident.” If you are insistent on speaking with a claims adjuster and not hiring a lawyer, wait until you are completely finished with all of your medical treatment.
What is the time limit to sue a Florida Supermarket if they caused a customer’s injury?
A Florida supermarket’s negligence may cause a customer’s injury. If so, the accident victim usually has four (4) years to file a lawsuit against a Florida supermarket.
Negligence means carelessness. I previously gave many examples of negligence.
Time Limit to Sue a Supermarket in Florida Wrongful Death Cases
A separate time limit applies if a family member is killed in an accident caused by a supermarket in Florida. In a Florida wrongful death case, the personal representative of the estate has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit from the time of death.
Family members have rights if a relative is killed in an accident. These above deadlines apply whether you are hurt inside a store or whether a store truck hits you.
A different time limit applies if are a supermarket employee who is injured on the job and you want to file a workers compensation case against your employer.
Repay Your Health Insurance Company (or Medicaid, Medicare, etc.)
If you want to make a claim or sue after you are injured at a supermarket or hit by their store truck, then you should notify your health insurer (or Medicaid, Medicare, etc.) after you receive medical treatment with a hospital or doctor. There are advantages to hiring an attorney if you are a Medicare beneficiary.
Under your health insurance contract you may have an obligation to repay your health insurer or other entity (Medicare, Medicaid, VA or Tricare). Be sure that you understand that law and don’t give away “free” money.
Foreigners have equal rights.
If you are from another state or country and you are hurt in Florida at a supermarket or hit by a store truck, you generally have the same rights as someone who lives in Florida.
One exception – in some cases – is if you are a nonresident pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle. In that case it may be easier to get money for pain and suffering from the grocery store or their insurer.
Common Injuries & Settlement Value of Pain and Suffering against Supermarkets.
I wrote an article about how much different injuries may be worth in Florida. In that article, I talk about the average settlement amounts in Florida for the pain and suffering component of injuries to various body parts, ranging from a broken ankle to a fractured wrist.
Those settlement amounts do not apply to the portion of a workers compensation case against a supermarket.
There is no guarantee that you get those amounts. Over 86 important factors affect injury claims. Therefore, you should use pain and suffering component estimates as a starting point only.
Keep in mind that you also may be entitled to get your medical bills and lost wages paid in addition to money for pain and suffering.
Employee of a Supermarket Who Is Injured While Working. (Workers Compensation)
The most common injuries from an accident at a grocery store are:
– Soreness, pain
The most common areas of the body that are affected in a work injury at a supermarket are back, neck, arms and legs.
The sources of most supermarket injuries are:
– Containers (boxes, crates, cartons)
– Worker motion or position
– Floor, ground surfaces
The event that causes most employee injuries at a supermarket is Overexertion. Overexertion lifting causes most of these.
By far the majority of grocery store deaths in the US are from assaults or violent acts, usually homicides. The motive of most homicides involving a supermarket is robbery.
Transportation (probably truck accidents) makes up a small percentage of the death of a supermarket employee.
If you are an employee of a supermarket and are injured while working, you should report the accident or incident to the store manager immediately. You should ask for an incident report.
In Florida, injured workers may be able to get benefits without having to show that the supermarket did something wrong that caused the injury.
This is different from a case of a customer who is injured. As mentioned above, a customer must show that the store was at fault in order to get damages.
Some other types of accidents that may cause a supermarket employee to get injured, and which you may be able get paid by workers compensation are if you:
– Get hit by a truck (18 wheeler or other type of truck) if you are working in the loading area (loading dock).
Even after you are finished treating with the doctors, you may still be able to get a settlement with the supermarket for your work related injuries. In most workers compensation cases, you are not entitled to money for pain and suffering. There are a few exceptions though.
Employee Hit by Car in Supermarket Parking Lot
Now let’s assume that while you were working for a store you were hit by a car in the parking lot. You would have a claim against the car that hit you.
Let’s say that you are diagnosed with a herniated disc as the result of the accident.
Suppose you reach a settlement with the insurance company for the at-fault driver for $25,000. This is not too far off of the full settlement value of pain and suffering for the average herniated disc in Florida which I use as a starting point when evaluating a case.
If the supermarket paid for bills and lost wages as a result of this accident, then in Florida they may be entitled to get paid back from your settlement. But you should not agree to reimburse the store claims adjuster for the amount that he or she is asking for without knowing the law!
In Florida, the Manfredo case gives the employee a lot of negotiation room. You may only have to pay back the employer a fraction (small percentage) of the workers compensation benefits that you received.
For any portion of a workers compensation case against an employer, I co-counsel (work together) with another attorney when representing an employee of a supermarket who is injured while working.
If you are not an employee of a grocery store and are injured at or by them, I can also represent you.
Driver Intentionally hits Supermarket Employee with Car in Parking Lot
Actual Case (not mine): In Santizo-Perez v. Genaro’s Corp., 138 So. 3d 1148, 1149 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014), Mr. Pivaral-Ramirez was the front-end manager for King’s. Genaro’s Corporation was doing business as King’s Food and Meat Bazaar.
On the evening of June 5, 2011, he began to gather shopping carts from King’s parking lot.
As he worked in the parking lot, a car hit him and sped away. Suffering from severe brain injuries (and other injuries) leaving him in a vegetative state, he passed away in the hospital a few weeks later.
The appeals court held that the decedent was both in course and scope of his employment and his injury did indeed arise from his employment, his injuries and death are legally compensable. This means that he has a valid workers compensation claim.
Average Settlement against a Supermarket
A lot of people want to know the amount of the average settlement against a supermarket. This is a hard question to answer because the question is very broad. You could be asking one of the following:
– Out of every claim made with the grocery store, including claims that they deny and defense verdicts, “How much does the store on average, pay to settle the claim?”; or
– Of all the claims (cases) made against the store, not including the claims that they deny (make no offer), “How much do they pay to settle on average?”
In my article about Publix accident settlements, I try my best to answer that question. I think the better question to ask is “What is the full value of my particular injury?” I talk about this in my article on pain and suffering values for injuries from Florida accidents.
But please remember that my answers apply to only the pain and suffering component for the run of the mill injuries without serious complications (infections, life shattering pain, etc.). Apart from knowing the full value of pain and suffering, there are too many factors for you to be able to estimate your settlement on your own unless you handle personal injury cases for a living or have done so in the past.
This is why people hire injury attorneys. Many of my current and past clients wanted the peace of mind knowing that someone who has handled hundreds of injury cases will use their experience and do their best to not leave any money on the table when settling the case. Let me give you a quick story.
My client was hurt in a car accident with a driver insured by GEICO. Their opening offer was $17,500. My client had a herniated disc and was hit by a drunk driver.
Many attorneys and people who were injured would have accepted this amount. I believe that it would have covered my client’s medical bills and put money in his pocket.
Most attorneys understand that many, but not all, settlement offers are negotiable. Some of these attorneys would have made a counter offer to GEICO. Perhaps some attorneys would have countered with $25,000. I say $25,000 because I often discuss case values with other injury lawyers.
Now, the bodily injury insurance limits in this case were $100,000. I told the GEICO claims adjuster that I would not take less than the $100,000 limits and I cited some laws that say that an insurance company has a duty to act in the best interests of its insured (the driver in this case).
I told them, in writing, that by not paying the $100,000 they were not acting in the best interest of their insured. We ultimately settled for $95,000. Now, “Could my client have also settled for $95,000 on his own?”
Perhaps, but we will never know. Maybe he would have just accepted the $17,500. It took a few weeks or a month or so to get GEICO to increase their offer by $85,000.
Many claims adjuster can be very persuasive when telling you that their settlement offer is fair. I can say that many people would have accepted the $17,500 initial offer. How do I know this? Because I ask my clients at the beginning of each case what they would accept as settlement.
Many of my past clients have told me that they were unaware that settlement offers were negotiable. I also ask some clients at the end of the case how they would have responded to offers from the insurance company at certain points in the case.
After all, many bodily injury claims adjusters will not tell you that, at the time that they make an offer to you, they have additional money to offer you for settlement.
Hurt while making a delivery to a Supermarket
If you are hurt while making a delivery to a grocery store, you may be able to get them to pay for your damages (lost wages, pain and suffering and medical bills). You have the same rights as a customer, which I have already discussed at length above.
If you were hurt in the loading dock of a supermarket while loading or unloading food or other items, you may be held to a higher standard of care than a shopper.
The claims adjuster hired by the store may put more blame on you for not paying extra attention to any items that may be on the floor in the loading area. But you still may have a good case.
In addition, you may be able to get benefits from your employer.
If you are offered pre-suit mediation, you should accept it assuming that you have completed your medical treatment and are at maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Which supermarkets are in Florida?
Apart from the supermarkets that I have mentioned, there are many other Florida grocery stores and convenience stores. These include:
- Aldi (St. Augustine, Port Richie, St. Cloud & more.)
- Apple Market (Escambia County)
- BJ’s Wholesale Club
- Bravo Supermarkets
- Central Supermarket
- Chamberlin’s Natural Food Market (Altamonte Springs & more.)
- Dollar General
- Dollar General Market
- Doris Italian Market & Bakery (Broward and Palm Beach County, Sunrise, North Palm Beach & more.)
- Earth Fare
- Ever’man Natural Foods (Cooperative Grocery and Cafe)
- Family Dollar
- Farm Stores
- Fast Track
- Food Bazaar International IGA (Bazaar Deli & Bakery Supermarket)
- Fresh Market (Temple Terrace & more).
- Gordon Food Service (GFS) Store. Little Havana & more.
- Harris Teeter Neighborhood Food & Pharmacy (Fernandina Beach,
- Harvey’s Supermarkets (Harveys is located in Blountstown, Havana and Melrose, Fl. Harvey’s is a Bi-Lo Holdings Company. Winn Dixie is also part of Bi-Lo.)
- Hitchcock’s Markets (Trenton, Old Town, Keystone Heights, Jasper, Interlachen, East Palatka, Willis)
- Joanna’s Marketplace
- Joseph’s Classic Market (Palm Beach Gardens & more.)
- Kmart (part of Sears Holding Corporation)
- Meridian Food Market
- Milam’s Markets
- National Supermarket IGA
- Native Sun Natural Foods Market
- Neighbor’s IGA
- New Way Supermarket
- Pic N Save
- Piggly Wiggly
- Pompano Supermarket
- Popular Supermarket
- Presidente Supermarket
- Price Choice Foodmarket
- Sabal Supermarket
- Sabor Tropical Supermarkets (IGA)
- Save-A-Lot Stores (licensee, so may be fully insured). Save-A-lot is a wholly owned subsidiary of wholly owned subsidiary of SUPERVALU INC)
- Target (Tavares & more)
- Trader Joes
- Tropical Supermarket
- Tropical Meat & Fish IGA
- U-Save (Titusville, Tarpon Springs)
- Walmart Neighborhood Market
- Western Beef Supermarket
- Winn Dixie Supermarkets (Tequesta & more.)
There are many more stores as well.
Did a Florida supermarkets’ carelessness cause your injury?
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