Lawyer for a Slip and Fall at Publix
People who shop at Publix often praise its cleanliness, selection, and staff friendliness. Unfortunately, while these are all important traits for a successful supermarket, even clean supermarkets with friendly staff are prone to hazards that can cause customers to slip and fall. When these accidents occur, they can leave the injured person with significant medical expenses, a painful recovery, and further distress caused by missed work and other impacts of the injury.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at Publix, you have a right to seek compensation for the out-of-pocket expenses and quality-of-life impacts you have incurred from your injury. An experienced slip and fall accident lawyer from The Levin Firm can evaluate your case for free, tell you more about the personal injury claims process, and share information about our legal team’s services to help you with your claim. Contact The Levin Firm today to get started.
Publix was founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins in Winter Haven, Florida. Over the decades, it has become one of the largest supermarket chains in the U.S., employing over 230,000 in its stores throughout the southeast and generating $48 billion in revenue.
It is the largest employee-owned company in the nation, with the founder’s family owning 20 percent of the company, while the remaining 80 percent is owned by past and present employees. There are 838 Publix stores in Florida, nearly 200 in Georgia, and dozens in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
It should have more than enough staff to keep aisles, parking lots, and sidewalks clean, clear, and in good repair. Frequently, however, it prefers to place profits over the expenses that come with implementing proper safety measures.
While Publix might skimp on safety, it won’t hesitate to spend money on defense attorneys to prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve for its negligence. That’s why you need to call The Levin Firm.
Slip and Fall Accidents: Common and Costly
Slip and fall accidents occur when an individual slips or trips over a property hazard and falls.
It combines two hazardous scenarios in which someone can sustain an injury:
- Slipping or tripping, which often leads the individual to twist the body, particularly the back or knee areas.
- Falling, which can cause the person to outstretch their arms in an attempt to regain their balance, strike other objects in the area, or collide with the floor. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death for older people, who often experience a broken hip that can lead to the loss of independence for the sufferer.
The National Floor Safety Institute reports that around one million people each year require medical treatment at emergency departments for injuries sustained in slip and falls. About 5 percent of the victims of this type of accident suffer bone fractures, which are commonly costly to treat. Depending on the severity of the break, the part of the body where the broken bone occurred, and whether surgery was required, these costs can range from several hundred dollars to $35,000 or more.
Falls are also one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, both of which are known as catastrophic injuries. They are both likely to result in permanent injuries that impact the sufferer’s ability to earn an income and can even require the provision of round-the-clock care.
Soft tissue injuries are also common in slip and fall accidents, with sufferers commonly experiencing tears to the tendons and ligaments of the knees. A Publix slip and fall can also cause damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs, resulting in chronic pain and instability of the spine.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Occur at Publix
As noted, grocery stores are prone to hazards that can cause customers to slip and fall.
These hazards include:
- Beverages or dry products such as beans or rice spilled on floors.
- Worn, torn, or damaged flooring.
- Boxes, merchandise, or displays cluttering walkways.
- Folded or crumpled floor mats.
- Rain puddling in doorways or being smeared across the floor by customers’ shoes.
- Leaking coolers.
- Freshly mopped or waxed floors.
- Damaged concrete in the store’s entryway or potholes in its parking lot.
Why Publix Is Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents
Those who own or manage commercial properties like Publix are legally responsible for taking reasonable actions to protect their customers from hazardous features that could cause injuries. These reasonable actions include regularly inspecting the premises in search of hazards.
In grocery stores, where hazards can arise quickly as customers move throughout the store, these inspections must occur continually. When hazards are discovered, the company’s employees must mitigate them by cleaning up the spill, fixing the folded mat, or otherwise removing the hazard.
If the hazard involves structural damage, the issue is reported by employees to their supervisor or manager. Damage is expected to be repaired promptly. The company’s employees are also responsible for placing prominent warning signs in the hazard area so that customers know to avoid it.
If a hazard causes an injury to a customer and Publix employees knew or had reason to know about it and failed to mitigate it, they are generally found to be negligent and liable for compensating the injured party.
The Premises Liability Claims Process
Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability claim, and premises liability refers to personal injury cases involving accidents resulting from a property owner or manager’s negligence. The process of seeking compensation for the costs and impacts of your injury generally consists of filing a claim against Publix’s property liability insurance policy.
If the insurance provider fails to pay the claim, it can be filed as a lawsuit to have a judge or jury decide on the matter. Here is a deeper look at the steps involved in the premises liability claims process.
Hiring an Attorney
Having an attorney brings experience and past success to your claim and ensures you will receive assistance throughout the process. While many fear they cannot afford the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer, the contingent fee billing method ensures that anyone can afford their services—regardless of their financial status at the time of the claim.
Here is how the contingent fee works:
- After a free case evaluation, you hire an attorney to assist you with your Publix slip and fall claim. The attorney asks you to sign a contingent fee agreement. This agreement details the type of services your attorney will provide and designates a percentage of any compensation you receive for the claim to be provided to them as payment.
- Because you are not required to pay a retainer, your lawyer’s legal team can begin working immediately on the claim without any upfront investment from you. Because you will not receive bills while the case is active, the team can continue working without worrying about your current payments.
- At the conclusion of your claim, the proceeds of the settlement or court award will be sent directly to your attorney. If medical liens are placed on the award by your health care provider or health insurer, your attorney will settle those liens from the proceeds. They will also withdraw the agreed-upon percentage of the funds for their payment. You will be required to sign documents finalizing the case, and the remainder of the proceeds will be turned over to you.
Establishing a Value to Your Claim
One of the important tasks an attorney will provide for you is establishing a value to your Publix slip and fall claim. Contrary to popular belief, your claim’s worth is not solely based on your medical treatment expenses, though that is one of the types of compensation you can seek.
The claim’s value includes other costs, such as wage loss and lost earning capacity, if you have suffered permanent injuries that will likely impair your ability to earn an income. The claim also can involve compensation needed to address the psychological impacts of your injury, such as emotional distress, physical pain, and general suffering.
Usually, lawyers will wait to value a claim until the claimant has reached maximum medical improvement. At this point, the injury has stabilized, and your physician believes you are unlikely to see any additional recovery, even if treatment continues. This juncture is often the best time to value a claim, as it provides a more accurate picture of the expenses incurred and the permanence of the injuries.
Filing the Claim with Publix’s Insurance Provider
Once your attorney has established a value to your Publix claim, they will submit a demand to the company’s insurance provider. The insurance provider will assign a claims adjuster to the case to evaluate the claim and determine whether Publix was liable and how much compensation they owe you (if any).
The claims adjuster is an insurance company employee, and one of their primary tasks is to protect the insurance company’s bottom line by reducing the amount they pay out on claims.
Your attorney will manage communication with the insurance provider, helping you to avoid the high-pressure, bully tactics often used by adjusters to reduce the value of claims.
The adjuster has three potential responses they can make to the claim:
- They can accept Publix’s liability for the accident and pay the claim’s full value.
- They can deny the claim and provide a written reason for the denial.
- They can offer to settle the claim out-of-court for less than its established value.
Negotiating a Settlement
Most personal injury claims—including those involving slip and fall accidents—are resolved by settlement before they see the inside of a courtroom. The initial settlement offer from the insurance company will generally be far lower than the case’s established value.
Your attorney will negotiate with the adjuster to get them to increase their offer. Meanwhile, they will provide guidance and information to help you understand how your claim is valued and what constitutes a fair settlement so you can decide whether to accept the offer.
Filing a Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit
If Publix’s insurance provider fails to pay for the claim directly or through a settlement agreement, the claim can be filed as a personal injury lawsuit. Claimants in Florida have four years to file the claim in court, and this deadline is known as the statute of limitations. The time limit for filing a lawsuit is different for claims filed in other states.
Filing the lawsuit within the statute of limitations is important to your right to seek compensation, as failing to do so will generally prevent you from using the court process for your claim. If the insurance company is no longer faced with the expense and uncertainty of litigation due to the expired statute of limitations, they almost certainly will not offer a settlement either.
The Levin Firm Can Help You With Your Publix Slip and Fall Claim
With its employee ownership model and its focus on offering customers a pleasant, friendly shopping experience, Publix has gained a strong reputation in the Southeast portion of the U.S. However, even friendly employees can be negligent, and even clean stores can feature hazards that can cause injuries to customers.
The slip and fall claims process, for all its complexities, provides those who have been injured with two options for seeking compensation for the costs and impacts of their injury: the filing of a claim against the company’s insurance policy, and the filing of a lawsuit in court if the insurance provider refuses to compensate the claimant fairly.
The Levin Firm’s legal team has ample experience with slip and fall claims, including those involving a major supermarket chain such as Publix. Let our experienced premises liability lawyer evaluate your claim, give you answers to your legal questions, and help you explore a path forward from your injury. For your free case evaluation, call us at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online