Under PA trip and fall accident law, stores have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for their shoppers, i.e., there shouldn’t be any dangerous conditions that could cause shoppers to injure themselves. Shoppers may slip and fall in the store due to an accumulation of water, or shoppers may trip and fall over items that should not be in the aisles. In these kinds of situations, Pennsylvania stores may be sued in a fall accident lawsuit and held liable for a customer's injuries.
Whenever a store is faced with an injury claim, the store’s insurance company will defend the claim. Oftentimes, the insurance company will call the injured customer and ask about the accident.
Should injured customers talk to the store’s insurance company? Probably not. First of all, the injured customer is not obligated to talk to the store’s insurance adjuster. Second, the insurance adjuster may use what the customer says in the conversation against them in the subsequent lawsuit.
For instance, a shopper slips and falls inside a clothing store due to a puddle of water on the floor. The customer has severe pain in her back. A store employee comes over to help her and apologizes. Another employee was supposed to clean up the spilled water earlier but apparently never got to it. The customer is in pain but is able to go home. She makes an appointment with her doctor, but the first available appointment is not for another week.
A day after the accident, the store’s insurance company calls the customer and wants to talk to her about the accident. The adjuster asks her about her injuries, and the customer says her back is a little sore. However, the pain in her back gets worse over the next couple of days. She also starts to feel numbness going down her leg. When she finally sees her doctor, diagnostic imaging results show that she has a herniated disc in her back that is pinching the nerve.
In a subsequent lawsuit, the customer’s statement to the insurance adjuster may be used against her to question her injuries. Because she said that her back was “a little sore,” the store may argue that she is exaggerating her injuries. Though there is a reasonable explanation, i.e., oftentimes pain and symptoms of injuries are initially masked by adrenaline or shock, the store’s argument could have been avoided.
If you were injured in a fall accident at a PA store, you may have legal rights. Call the lawyers at White and Williams to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396