A wet floor sign in an aisle at ShopRite.

Merriam Webster defines an accident as “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance.” That is the perfect description of what happened to a New Jersey woman who recently made headlines after settling a slip and fall case for $1.25 million. 

According to NJ.com, “Laura Diaz, now 37, tumbled into a self-service rotisserie chicken warmer after slipping in the front of the Perth Amboy [ShopRite] in May 2016… Diaz had pre-existing back problems, but suffered a herniated disc and needed lumbar fusion surgery after falling… [She] also tore a ligament in one of her knees and injured one of her shoulders.”

Although ShopRite contends that most of her injuries were due to her pre-existing conditions, the company settled the case for $700,000. The store’s cleaning company agreed to chip in another $550,000. 

Multiple Defendants: ShopRite and the Store’s Cleaning Company

The fact that two different companies were held responsible is important to note. Sometimes it is not clear who was really at fault, but it is possible to determine who should be held responsible.

In this case, the cleaning company should have cleaned up the grease, and the store should have ensured that the cleaning company was doing its job. Both of the companies should have realized the grease on the floor was dangerous. 

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, and it is unclear who was actually at fault, our firm can help you identify all the potentially responsible parties, and work to hold them accountable. 

ShopRite Claimed Pre-Existing Injuries. Did They Matter?

It is also important to note that in this case, the victim’s pre-existing injuries did not prevent her from seeking compensation. Maybe her injuries did make the slip and fall worse, but that doesn’t absolve the defendants of the responsibility they had to keep shoppers safe. 

Just because a victim is already injured doesn’t mean they can’t be injured more. It is critical that careful healthcare records be kept so that injuries can be properly accounted for. 

Video Evidence 

Perhaps one of the reasons the case settled before going to trial is that there was a video recording of the slip and fall and the time leading up to it. The store’s own surveillance cameras showed that nobody from the store looked at the slippery area for hours before the accident occurred. 

One of the reasons it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you are hurt is so that evidence like this can be gathered and preserved. Many companies tape over or delete videos after a certain amount of time, so it is important to have your attorney get a copy before that crucial evidence disappears. 

Other evidence, like interviews with eyewitnesses and police reports, should also be collected and preserved. You never know when crucial evidence will be lost, forgotten, or destroyed if it is not safely gathered and stored. 

Contact Levin & Malkin Today

At Levin & Malkin, we help many clients get compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to slip and fall accidents on both public and private property. If you have been injured in such an accident, please contact our Hackensack office to schedule an initial consultation. 

Posted in: Slip and Fall Accidents