You go to Walgreens pretty frequently, however, one day you’re walking down an aisle and you slip and fall. You notice that there is makeup on your pants leg and it appears that the substance is oil. You’re embarrassed at what happened. The last thing you want to do is make a commotion. All you want to do is get up, pick-up your prescription and head home. You try to get up and you feel pain in your knee – now you’re worried and wondering if something is really wrong.
This is the typical scenario of someone who slips and falls in a retail store. This type of premises liability claim is called a slip and fall on a foreign transitory substance. Over the last few years, Florida law has gotten much stricter and these claims more difficult to prove. The fact that there was make-up and oil on the floor is not enough evidence to win your claim. These cases turn on whether the store had notice of the dangerous condition.
Notice comes in two flavors: (1) actual notice; and (2) constructive notice. The store has actual notice of problem if an employee saw the substance, dropped the substance, or did not properly clean up the area. The store has constructive notice if the substance was the floor for a long enough period of time that an employee should had discovered the problem.
In order to obtain and preserve the evidence needed to win these claims, you must follow these three steps:
First, you must report the claim and hopefully fill out an incident report. During this time, you should get the name(s) of all store employees who were in the area and with whom you interacted. You should also get the contact information from any witnesses to your fall.
Second, at a later date, you will need to be able to explain why you fell. If possible, you should take a photo of the dangerous condition or at least make sure that the problem is accurately described on the incident report.
Third, if you are feeling pain in the store, like our example, you should agree to medical care if the store offers. This will help you because you will have your injuries checked out, and it will document that you were complaining of a medical problem at the scene.
Here are some other things you need to know about filing a claim against Walgreens.
Walgreens is an Illinois not a Florida corporation. This means that if your damages are worth more than $75,000, odds are that Walgreens will remove your case to federal court, which can be much more difficult to pursue. Federal procedure has a tougher summary judgment standard, which makes obtaining the above information even more important.
Walgreens is pretty much self-insured. Unlike a like of commerical insurance policies that provide medical payments coverage for somebody injured on the premises regardless of fault, in a Walgreens claim there is no med-pay.
Over the years, I have found Walgreens pretty reasonable to deal with. A lot of times a lawsuit has to be filed but eventually the claim gets resolved one way or another.