Making a personal injury claim against Winn Dixie stores – 3 things you need to know.
The last thing that anybody wants is to fall down in a grocery store and get injured. I mean, “only people who are klutzes” or “aren’t paying attention” fall – right? Well, it happened to you and you were paying attention and you don’t believe the fall was your fault.
You were walking down the back aisle of the store, made a turn onto an aisle, and low and behold, your feet slipped out from underneath you and you end up on the ground. You’re embarrassed! The last thing you want to do is make a scene! I mean, you want to get up, check-out and get out of the store ASAP. However, you think you’re injured. What do you do? Below, I share with you the three things that you must do if you hope to preserve enough evidence to be successful in a personal injury claim against Winn Dixie.
The Background – Florida Statute 768.0755
In 2010, the Florida legislature, changed the law on slip and fall cases and now require that an injured person show that the store had KNOWLEDGE of the problem or put another way – NOTICE. There are two ways to prove KNOWLEDGE or NOTICE.
Actual: an employee had knowledge of the problem. Actual notice happens if a store employee caused the problem, learned of the problem and didn’t handle the situation quickly enough, or attempted to handle the problem and didn’t do it correctly.
Constructive: in order to show the store had a constructive notice, the injured person has to gather enough facts to support the position that the danger was present for a long enough time so a store employee would have discovered the problem, if he/she acted properly (wasn’t negligent). With this background – You must do the following:
Identify Why You Fell
Take a look around you and see why you fell. Was it a water bottle on the shelf that leaked onto the floor? Was it a jar that broke on the aisle and was not properly cleaned up? Did a store employee just mop the floor and not put up any warnings? Was there a leaky water cooler or freezer?
It is not enough that you just fell. If you’re not able to identify what caused you to fall, you will not be able to prove your case. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with people who were severely injured and I ask them, why did you fall? And they respond, “I don’t know.” Sorry, no attorney will be able to help you if you don’t know why you fell.
REPORT THE INCIDENT
Even though you may be embarrassed, you have to report the incident. Take the store manager to the area, show her the problem, fill out an accident report. Be sure to a copy of the accident report. Get the names of all store employees that dealt with you. Also, if there were any witnesses to the event; get their names and contact information. Again, all this information goes to supporting your burden of proof.
If you are able, ask the store manager to take photos of the area before it is cleaned up or you take photos yourself. Most folks have cameras or video on their phones. Also, ask the store manager to save any video of the area in question.
Folks may think that this seems litigious. If you follow these steps, you are just protecting your rights. You may be fine and you may not need to file a claim. If this is the case, no harm – no foul.
WINN DIXIE STORES
Winn Dixie is based in Jacksonville, Florida. For slip and fall claims, Winn Dixie is pretty much self insured. Winn Dixie uses a third party administrator to adjust its personal injury claims. If Winn Dixie believes that the person is truly injured and the incident is the store’s fault, it will attempt to resolve the claim. However, it may take filing a lawsuit and going through the discovery process before the matter is resolved. If Winn Dixie believes that the person making the claim – is full of it – they will not settle the claim and will make you go to trial.
If you have any questions about making a claim against Winn Dixie, call Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form.