Accidents can happen at any time, in any place—including New Mexico grocery stores. While grocery store owners have a responsibility to maintain safe premises, not all of them uphold this duty of care. If you slip and fall at the grocery store, you may have grounds to file a premises liability claim against the establishment and collect compensation for your damages. However, there are several steps you will need to take to preserve evidence and seek help.
#1: Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, your health should be your first priority. As soon as possible after the accident, seek medical care and save all records related to your treatment and injuries. You should always seek medical attention, even if you do not feel hurt; it is very possible that your injuries may be more serious than you believe.
Additionally, your medical records will serve as crucial pieces of evidence in your future claim. They can help establish the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the treatment you will require in the future. If you do not seek medical attention right away, the insurance company or defense attorney in your case may use this as evidence against you.
#2: Document the Accident Scene
After your fall, try to identify what caused your accident—spilled liquids or shopping cart defects are often responsible for grocery store falls. If you can move around the accident scene without further injury or pain, you should take steps to document as much evidence as possible.
Take as many pictures of the accident scene from as many angles as possible. Document the hazard that caused your fall, the presence or lack of warning signs, and any visible injuries you may have. These photographs will serve as valuable evidence in your claim.
#3: Report the Accident to a Store Manage
Grocery stores usually have a process for filing an incident report. As soon as you can, report the accident to a manager, store owner, or another employee. However, you should be very careful about what you say during this interaction; the store can use evidence against you in your future case. Keep your answers short and concise
Many grocery stores have surveillance cameras. Immediately after the accident, ask a grocery store employee if the accident was filmed. If so, request the store surveillance video. The store may be unwilling to provide this evidence at this stage in your case, but you should receive confirmation that a video exists.
#4: Collect Witness Information
If any witnesses saw your fall occur, they can provide valuable evidence in your future claim. You can use witness testimony to corroborate your story and validate the store’s liability. After the accident, ask each witness for his or her contact information to use in your future claim.
#5: Contact an Attorney
After you receive treatment, speak to an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Do not speak with any insurance adjusters or store representatives until you speak with your attorney. Your lawyer can represent you in your claim against the grocery store and provide several benefits to your case, including the following.
- Access to expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf
- Knowledge of New Mexico premises liability laws and insurance claims processes
- Experience negotiating with insurance companies and corporate defense attorneys
- The ability to guide you through the litigation process so you can focus on recovery
- Assistance obtaining sensitive pieces of evidence from the grocery store, including surveillance footage