Publix, like most sophisticated retailers, posts video surveillance cameras throughout their stores to collect and preserve evidence in the prosecution of criminal cases as well as the defense of civil claims made against it by shoppers who slip, trip, and fall in their stores. Since 1991, our Publix slip and fall lawyers have investigated thousands of injury claims that have occurred in grocery stores, parking lots, amusement parks, and other facilities.
Publix has a particular way of handling personal injury claims made against it by people who have been hurt at one of its locations. First it will assign an adjuster who has experience in evaluating and negotiating slip and fall premise claims. The adjuster is responsible for obtaining relevant information and trying to settle a given claim for the least amount of money possible.
HIRE A FLORIDA LAWYER SPECIALIZING IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES
We have found that adjusters will treat claims differently when the injured person is represented by an experienced slip and fall lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims versus an unrepresented claimant or one represented by an out-of-state lawyer who may be unfamiliar with the local state laws. Since most Publix stores are located in Florida, it is important to hire a Florida lawyer, preferably one who is Board Certified by both the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Publix will evaluate your claim in part on the strength of your lawyer.
FIND THE BEST DOCTORS FOR YOUR HEALTH AND FOR YOUR CASE
While pain clinics are popular on the radio, most of these personal injury type clinics and pain management mills share dismal reputations with Publix adjusters, who will look at when, where, and with whom a given injured customer sought treatment. For instance, a customer who is taken to the hospital via an ambulance directly from the scene of the accident, who is admitted to the hospital, and who undergoes either a surgery or diagnostic testing in the hospital will almost always have a more valuable claim than someone who walks out of a Publix store and sees a personal injury lawyer who refers the client to some clinic a week or more later.
Generally speaking, a hospital emergency room is a far better place to diagnose and treat a serious injury than an urgent care center or your primary care doctor’s office. Specialized testing is often needed, such as an MRI or CT scan, which most doctors do not have available in their private offices.
LIABILITY, AKA LEGAL FAULT
Regardless of whom you hire as your lawyer, or what hospital or doctors diagnose and treat you for a fall at Publix, you will certainly first have to convince the Publix adjuster that the accident was Publix’s fault. Many potential clients feel that simply because they were injured at a grocery store—by slipping on a piece of fruit or a spill in the aisle—it is automatically the legal responsibility of the store to pay them money for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, and time lost from work. Unfortunately, under Florida law, the injured person must first prove that the store either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to warn the customer of it.
This legal concept is complex and often can frustrate and infuriate seriously injured people who have no idea how or why they fell–just that they fell. This is common: a person goes to Publix and is busy shopping in the aisle for peanut butter, when the next thing the shopper is aware of is having slipped and fallen and broken a leg. They often do not know why or how they fell. They did not see or feel or smell anything unusual on the floor or their clothing. In some cases, they simply know that they fell, and in others they do not know how long the substance that caused them to fall had been on the floor. And before they know it, they are whisked away in unspeakable pain to the hospital, given pain medications, and the focus shifts from how they fell to how to heal and recover.
Yet Publix often knows how the person fell, because almost as soon as the event occurs, Publix Loss Prevention and Safety Specialists are hard at work investigating the incident, interviewing witnesses, including the injured customer, and reviewing the surveillance CCTV of the incident. All this information is then packaged together and given to the claims adjusters, who wait to be contacted by the injured person.
Sometimes, the injured parties never call Publix, not knowing that they may have a potential personal injury case against Publix or not wanting to proceed with it. They are simply too focused on getting the medical care and treatment they need rather than on making a claim. Other times, the person, especially an elderly victim, does not have the time or energy required to hire a personal injury lawyer to sue Publix, or it could be that the individual does not understand the right to make a claim at all. That is why, if in doubt, one should always consult with an experienced Publix accident claims law firm.
Lastly, the CCTV footage becomes invaluable for both parties to fully evaluate the claim, but Publix never gives up the tape—absent a court order in litigation. In other words, to get a copy of the CCTV footage, one must sue Publix. Publix proceeds in this fashion to try to force the injured and their lawyers to negotiate the case without the full benefit of all the information needed. In some cases when the injury is not significant and a reasonable offer is made, it may not be necessary to have the CCTV footage to settle a Publix claim. However, with a significant injury, such as one requiring surgery and inflicting lifetime consequences—like a broken arm or leg, or brain damage—it generally makes sense to file suit to obtain the CCTV footage.
It is important to be careful what one wishes for, as the CCTV footage may demonstrate that the accident did not happen the way the claimant had thought. We have had many cases disintegrate when the CCTV is finally produced and we learn that our clients tripped over their own feet—or were otherwise mistaken as to how, why, and often even where they fell.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH A PUBLIX ACCIDENT CLAIMS LAW FIRM
If you have suffered an accident at a Publix grocery store, or in their parking lot, you may have a legal right to obtain monetary damages from Publix for your pain and suffering, medical expense reimbursement, and lost wages. Our office has over 30 years of combined legal experience representing people from around the world in cases against Publix. Call 1-866-xxx-xxxx or email us for a free initial and confidential consultation. We accept cases against Publix across the State of Florida, and we are available 24/7 to help you. Call us today—we are ready to help you hold Publix accountable for your accident and injuries.
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