Lawyer for a Slip and Fall at Costco
Many people shop at Costco to save money by buying their groceries and household products in bulk. Despite all the benefits a Costco membership can provide, the last thing members want when they shop at this warehouse-style store is an injury resulting from a slip and fall accident.
Owners and managers of stores such as Costco must routinely inspect their properties in search of hazards that could injure their customers. When these companies discover such hazards, they must either promptly mitigate the hazard or provide prominent warnings, so members are aware of the hazard and know to stay away from it.
Slip and fall accidents can cause some of the most severe injuries, including catastrophic injuries that can deprive the sufferer of the ability to earn an income or live independently.
If a slip and fall accident at Costco injures you, you can seek compensation for the expenses and psychological effects of your injuries through the personal injury claims process. An experienced premises liability lawyer from the Levin Firm can explain this process in greater detail during a free case evaluation and tell you about the services our legal team can provide to help you through this process.
Costco opened in 1976 under the name Price Club, in a converted airplane hangar in San Diego. The company originally only served small businesses but eventually made its memberships available for non-business members. The company opened its first warehouse location in Seattle in 1983 and became the first company to earn $3 billion in sales in its first six years. Price Club merged with Costco in 1993, becoming PriceCostco, operating warehouse stores in 203 locations, earning $16 billion in annual sales.
Since 1997, when the company changed its name to Costco, it has become a major world retailer, offering a membership shopping experience in several countries worldwide. The company carries around 4,000 products and currently boasts annual sales revenues of $64 billion—more than enough to protect customers from hazards on its properties.
Sometimes, however, corporate greed can divert a safety budget toward shareholder stock prices or executive salaries, and customers find themselves slipping, falling, and sustaining severe injuries. When that happens, don’t think that Costco will skimp on corporate lawyers to fight your claim—it won’t. That’s when you need to call the Levin Firm.
Slip and Fall Accidents and the Injuries They Cause
Slip and fall accident refers to an accident in which an individual sustains an injury from slipping or tripping over a property hazard and falling.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and falls result in around one million visits to the emergency department annually, causing injuries including:
- Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, which often lead to permanent deficits that impair the sufferer’s ability to earn an income.
- Bone fractures, including hip fractures, which are more common in customers over age 65, and fractures to the arms, wrists, or knee caps.
- Soft tissue injuries, including damage to the tendons and ligaments in the knees, ankles, and wrists.
- Damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs.
How Do Slip and Falls Happen at Costco?
Costco’s warehouse stores offer convenience and selection for shoppers, but their layout also leads to property hazards that cause slip and fall accidents. The store features rows of shelves with stacked objects that can fall, resulting in debris and merchandise cluttering the aisles.
Costco stores often feature a snack bar, and customers are welcome to carry their food or drinks through the store. While this is helpful for a hungry customer, spilled beverages are another major cause of slip and fall accidents at Costco. Rain and snow tracked in on members’ shoes can also cause slippery floor surfaces, making a slip and fall accident more likely.
Costco’s main shopping floor is generally well-lit. However, some areas, like the restrooms, have low lighting. Poor lighting is a common cause of slip and fall accidents. Damaged pavement in the entryway or throughout the store’s concrete flooring or potholes in Costco’s parking lot can also lead to slip and fall accidents.
Seeking Compensation Through a Slip and Fall Claim
When a property owner or manager fails to inspect their property for hazards and take reasonable actions to mitigate those hazards or warn guests of them, they can be liable for any resulting injuries. After an injury from a slip and fall accident, you can seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the company’s property liability insurance provider.
When the insurance provider receives the claim, they will assign a claims adjuster to evaluate the incident and determine whether Costco was liable for the injury. If they were liable, then the claims adjuster must determine how much compensation Costco owes to the claimant.
While this seems like a reasonable process, the claims adjuster is an employee of the insurance company, and the insurance company wants to protect its bottom line by keeping payouts on third-party claims as low as possible.
Our experienced slip and fall injury lawyers can negotiate with the insurance provider to get them to make a fair settlement offer. If the insurance company fails to do so, then you can file a slip and fall lawsuit.
How Much Time You Have to File a Lawsuit
Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which the claim must be filed in court for the claimant to use the court process when seeking compensation for their injury. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, for example, claimants generally have two years from the date of the injury to file their claim, while claimants in Florida have up to four years in most cases.
You must file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations to preserve your right to pursue compensation. Most legal claims settle before a trial. Insurance companies that insure businesses such as Costco try to avoid the expense, time commitment, and uncertain outcome of trials. The business likely wants to avoid the publicity of a slip and fall lawsuit. The lawsuit serves as a legal consequence for those whose negligence causes harm.
If you miss the statute of limitations, you forfeit your right to bring your claim to court. This consequence means the insurance company no longer has the initiative to pay you. One of the most important services your Costco slip and fall lawyer provides is managing the timing of your claim to ensure you have the right to the court process.
Proving Liability for a Costco Slip and Fall
A cornerstone of a successful Costco slip and fall claim is showing that the company was liable for the accident that caused your injury.
You can prove liability by establishing that:
- Costco had possession of the property where the accident occurred through ownership or a lease of the building.
- Costco’s maintenance and care of the property was negligent, meaning it failed to promptly repair hazardous property features.
- The victim suffered an injury.
- The injury was a result of Costco’s negligence.
Some evidence proving a Costco slip and fall claim includes photos of the property feature that resulted in injury, surveillance video from the store, eyewitness testimony, and the official accident report you filed with the store’s manager. Additionally, your lawyer must justify your claim value by showing medical and other documentation proving your expenses. Your lawyer will also gather testimony from medical or occupational experts on whether you can expect continued financial and psychological effects due to your injury.
Defenses to Costco Slip and Fall Claims
While your lawyer fights for your right to the compensation you need after a Costco slip and fall accident, the insurance company will fight to avoid paying you your claim value. In addition to the tactics insurance companies use to reduce claims, they can also attempt to defend the company by saying it is not liable.
Potential defenses to slip and fall claims at retail stores such as Costco include:
- Claiming that the property hazard that caused the accident was “open and obvious,” and you should have known to avoid it.
- Claiming that Costco had no knowledge or reason to know that the hazard existed.
- Claiming that you were looking at your phone or wearing the wrong shoes and that the accident was your fault.
- Claiming that the accident resulted from unforeseeable third-party conduct, such as a cleaning company mopping and waxing the floors and failing to warn customers that the floors were wet or slippery.
Compensation You Can Receive Through Your Claim
Costco slip and fall claimants can seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include compensation for the expenses incurred due to your injury. Non-economic damages include compensation for the injury’s effects on your quality of life.
Some of the damages commonly included in Costco slip and fall claims are:
- The costs associated with medically treating the injury.
- Wage loss incurred due to the claimant being too injured to work.
- Lost earning capacity from the claimant’s inability to work.
- Physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other quality-of-life effects.
How a Lawyer Can Help You With the Costco Slip and Fall Claims Process
The process of seeking compensation for injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence can be complex. A high-powered insurance company intent on avoiding large payouts and a global company looking to avoid publicity are formidable opponents, even if the severity of your injury warrants high compensation.
A personal injury claim involves a legal process with a deadline and evidence required to prove your claim. The personal injury claims process can produce all these issues and more while you recover from your injury.
A personal injury lawyer brings experience to your claim. They are not intimidated by an insurance claims adjuster, and the tactics used by insurance companies to reduce claims will be ineffective. Your attorney can manage communication with the insurance provider, properly value your claim so that the claims adjuster or the court can see the financial losses you’ve suffered, manage the timing of your claim, and assist you in receiving your compensation. Beyond that, they will provide guidance and information so you can make decisions about your claim that reflect your best interests.
If a Costco Slip and Fall injured you, Our Lawyers Can Help
Costco built its reputation on offering convenience and cost savings to members of its retail club. Unfortunately, the same convenience and cost savings do not transfer when a member sustains an injury and seeks compensation. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer provides you with many services that are crucial to your ability to have a successful slip and fall claim.
If your Costco slip and fall injury occurred in the Philadelphia area, Atlantic City, or Fort Lauderdale, let an experienced slip and fall lawyer from the Levin Firm evaluate your case for free and help you learn more about its role in the process. Contact us online or by calling (215) 825-5183.