With so many patrons traveling in and out of stores like Publix each day, trip or slip and fall accidents and injuries are likely. However, under Georgia law, Atlanta businesses like Publix are required to keep their aisles tidy, entryways clean, and checkout lines safe – otherwise it exposes them to liability in the event of an accident.
If you have ever perused the aisles of the local Publix supermarket, you are likely aware of the potential for hazards and risk. From broken jars of spaghetti sauce to unstable display cases, the sheer volume of grocery store inventory lends itself to potential hazards. What follows is a brief explanation of how Georgia laws apply to supermarket slips as well as how to file a claim.
What is Georgia premises liability?
Injuries that occur on property belonging to another person or business fall under the sub-category of negligence law known as “premises liability.” Premises liability imparts a duty upon property owners to keep common areas safe for invited social or business guests, and mandates that a store like Publix engage in regular inspections of the premises to ensure there are no dangerous conditions or problematic hazards in public areas.
Under Georgia law, store owners and managers must exercise “ordinary care” in keeping the store safe for guests. Examples of ordinary care in the supermarket setting could include any of the following:
- Prompt response to spills in the aisles
- Safely stacking items, particularly overhead
- Providing sufficient space between aisles for shoppers to pass in both directions
- Regularly inspecting or mopping floors
- Shoveling snow and salting ice in entryways and parking lots
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, these are examples of ordinary care measures that a store manager must follow to avoid premises liability. By contrast, however, a store like Publix will not generally face liability for injuries occurring as a result of unexpected, unforeseen issues that arise, like major weather events.
How to Initiate an Injury Claim in Georgia After a Slip & Fall Accident
An injured Publix shopper would begin her case by either filing a claim with the Publix Risk Management Department or initiating a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia state court. When filing a claim within Publix directly, an injury victim will be contacted by a claims adjuster working within the Publix system. The adjuster will review the evidence concerning the claim, including:
- Medical documentation
- Video surveillance
- Witness testimony
- Store protocol and history
- Documentation of missed time from work and lost wages
From there, the adjuster may either make an offer to settle or deny liability altogether. In either scenario, a personal injury attorney can advise you on the next best steps. If the settlement offer is congruent with the value of the injury in total, a lawyer may advise you to accept and move forward.
However, if Publix is unwilling to offer compensation to fully address the victim’s injuries, the next available option is a personal injury lawsuit in the Georgia courts. This will require the official filing of pleadings, discovery of evidence, and an eventual trial before a local judge and jury. A lawyer from The Champion Firm, P.C., can do all of this for you.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury will determine whether the store failed to exercise ordinary care and, if so, the value of the plaintiff’s injuries.