Slip and Fall at ALDI? Your Next Steps
Owners and managers can be held liable when someone falls and gets hurt in their store. It doesn’t matter if it is a high-end boutique or a discount grocery chain like ALDI. The same laws of premises liability apply if you slip and fall at ALDI, Walmart, or even on the steps of your apartment building. Businesses have a legal obligation to keep customers, visitors, and tenants safe.
Businesses that fail to maintain a safe environment might owe an injured person compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Grocery Store Dangers
Getting groceries might not seem all that dangerous. But considering the environment in some stores, it is not at all surprising that people trip, slip, and fall.
Tile or linoleum floors are slick, especially in winter months as patrons track in snow and slush. Spilled products add to the hazard. Wet or oily liquids create obvious risks, but so do dry items like cereal or pasta. Anything in the aisles that a person might step on could cause a fall.
Grocery stores can reduce or eliminate their liability by cleaning up messes immediately. But shoppers might drop things or handle items without putting them back properly without an employee noticing. The longer a mess goes untouched, the more likely someone will fall and get hurt.
A store like ALDI’s no-frills approach to shopping can sometimes add to the dangers. Their locations are often more cramped than larger supermarket chains. This can mean narrow aisles and products stacked or displayed in such a way that navigating a cart is difficult.
ALDI’s cost savings might also translate to fewer employees monitoring the store for spills and hazards.
Injuries from a Slip and Fall at a Grocery Store
A number of injuries, both minor and serious, can happen from a slip and fall at ALDI or anywhere else. Bruises or muscle soreness might go away quickly. Sprains, dislocated joints, and fractures on the other hand, can mean emergency care and time off of work to recuperate. In the very worst cases, back and spinal cord injuries, concussions or traumatic brain injuries can take months or even years to heal or could leave someone permanently disabled. A fall can harm a pregnant woman or her unborn baby.
Besides the obvious physical, these injuries can also cause emotional trauma, a diminishing quality of life, and financial setbacks. Costly doctor bills, surgery, medication, and ongoing physical therapy might be necessary. If the victim can not work, the financial burden is even greater.
If the incident happened because someone was negligent, the store may be responsible for paying compensation to the victim. The business has an obligation to “make whole,” meaning the victim deserves whatever it takes to get them back to the condition—physically and financially—that they were in before they slipped and fell.
Proving Premises Liability
Premises liability is a concept that holds business owners responsible for personal injuries that happen on their property. In the matter of a slip and fall at ALDI, not every case will result in a settlement to pay the injured person’s bills. There are certain conditions that have to be present to make the ALDI store liable.
- First, victims must prove that their injuries are real, and that they happened at the store as the result of slipping and falling. Photos of the spill or hazard in the aisle as well as witness statements can verify that the incident happened where and when the victim said. Documentation of medical records and invoices can offer proof of the specific injuries and the cost of treatment.
- The ALDI manager or employees had to be aware that the hazard existed, and did nothing to fix it. This can be tricky to prove. Unless there is proof that someone pointed out a spill to the staff, or that it was there for a long period of time, the store could claim they were unaware. A judge or jury will base a decision on what was reasonable. In other words, was it reasonable that they would have known about the problem, and did they have a reasonable amount of time to clean it up. For example, if a customer drops a jar and immediately slips and falls on its contents, the store could not be considered negligent as there was no time to clean the mess.
- If the store does know of a hazard, they can avoid liability by posting a warning. A “wet floor” sign or a roped off area is usually sufficient to show that the store is addressing the situation. It is not the store’s fault if a customer ignores or does not see a clearly posted warning.
It is up to the victim to prove these three conditions. For this reason, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney. Firms like Hipskind & McAninch that deal with these cases have experience in gathering the appropriate evidence to prove slip and fall. They know how to negotiate with stores’ insurance companies, and file a lawsuit if a fair settlement can’t be reached.
Aside from contacting a lawyer, there are some things a victim should do immediately after a slip and fall at ALDI or any business.
- Get medical attention. Depending on how serious the injuries are, call an ambulance, go to an urgent care or hospital emergency room, or schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
- Notify the manager or store employees immediately.
- Gather information and evidence. Take photos, ask witnesses for their contact information, and get copies of any reports made by store staff. Write down every detail as soon as possible while the memories are still fresh. Keep the clothes and shoes worn during the incident as proof that they did not contribute to the fall. The store could claim that a long skirt or high heels were to blame.
- Keep records of everything. These details could become valuable pieces of evidence.
Will a Foreign-Owned, Discount Store Like ALDI Affect How Much a Slip and Fall Case is Worth?
ALDI shoppers know about their low prices, and might worry that this could affect how much they could get in a slip and fall case. Just because ALDI is no-frills, does not mean that the company can not afford to pay compensation to people hurt in their stores. The chain is part of a large corporation with more than 2000 stores across 36 states. They have insurance for premises liability claims as well as a team of attorneys to fight lawsuits.
People who have suffered a personal injury because of negligence at their local ALDI store should not be hesitant to review their case with an attorney. They are entitled to compensation for their physical and emotional recovery as well as their financial losses, no matter what business is to blame.
Some victims may also wonder if the fact that ALDI is based in Germany could matter in a personal injury case. Although the ALDI company does have foreign roots, its United States headquarters is in Batavia, Illinois. Operations in the United States fall under U.S. laws when it comes to premises liability. It does not take a special international lawyer or knowledge of the German legal system to sue the company.
The fact that ALDI is not the same as some traditional grocery stores has no bearing on what a slip and fall case might be worth. The important thing is to get full and fair compensation for the injuries suffered. Hipskind & McAninch can make sure that happens.