Common Causes for Falls and Injuries in Grocery Stores

One chore that almost everyone undertakes from time to time is buying groceries. While some people would rather do almost anything else, some people enjoy their time shopping. But very few people would think of grocery shopping as a dangerous activity. Unfortunately, people do sometimes fall down and sustain serious personal injuries while shopping for groceries.

In this article, we will discuss some common causes of falls and injuries in grocery stores.

Dangerous Conditions Can Exist in Grocery Stores

Most people have shopped in grocery stores hundreds of times without falling down. However, others aren’t so lucky. When a person does fall, he or she may sustain only bumps, bruises, and embarrassment. But in other cases, moderate to severe injury can result.

Broken bones are a common injury that results from falls. Head injuries can result from striking the floor or other objects. People are sometimes cut by broken glass or hurt themselves on dangerous exposed metal. Ligaments and other body parts can be torn or damaged.

Sadly, falls (not just in retail stores) represent the top cause of injury and death for older Americans. Below are some of the dangerous actions and their causes that can result in personal injury:

  • Slip and falls due to spilled or leaking substances – If any container containing a liquid is damaged or broken, it can result in slippery substances finding their way onto the floor. This can be anything from a bottle of soda or milk to a can of beans.
  • Slip and falls due to items falling on the floor – It’s not just liquids that cause problems. While it’s a common joke to talk about slipping on a banana peel, the problem truly is particularly pronounced in the produce area, where individual pieces of fruit and vegetables often end up on the floor.
  • Surface irregularities – This is a fancy way of referring to holes, cracks, and other irregularities in floors that can cause a person to slip or trip and fall down. Even flooring material can cause slips.
  • Items falling from shelves or dangerous stacks – Sometimes stacks of merchandise fall down. A shopper can be injured if hit by the falling items. In other cases, an item left on the floor causes a trip. In some instances, glass can shatter and cause injury.
  • Injuries from obstructions – If a piece of metal or other obstruction is sticking out in a dangerous way, it can harm a customer who strikes it.
  • Dangerous parking lots and sidewalks – Uneven, damaged, and poorly maintained sidewalks and parking lots outside the store can cause people to trip and fall. Stores with inadequate lighting and security also present risks to customers.
  • Dangerous entryways – Obviously, lots of people enter and exit grocery stores at the same places. Therefore, it’s important to keep them properly maintained. Failure to do so can lead to slips and falls.

Recovery for Injuries

In Oregon, injured grocery store customers can recover damages when they are injured as a result of the negligence of the store (and its employees). Grocery store shoppers are considered “invitees” under Oregon premises liability law and store owners owe a duty of care to protect the invitee from dangers the owner knows about (or should know about) and must warn the invitee of latent dangers. When the owner fails to meet the standard of care, it is negligent. 

Call with Questions

If you have been injured at a grocery store or any other retail location, the experienced premises liability lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are here to answer any questions you might have about your rights. And if you need us to help investigate your claim, we’re happy to do so. We believe that it is crucial to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions so that all of society will be made safer.


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