Be Cautious When Shopping, COVID Panic May Make Retail Injuries More Likely

Around here, we’re used to grocery runs that can be generously described as “hectic.” In South Florida, news of a hurricane means rushing to the nearest store to get the last bits of bread, milk, and water before everyone else does. Nashville has also been hit hard by storms in recent years, so area residents know what it’s like to stand in a winding checkout line there, too.

But like so many other things about COVID-19, this time is different. The CDC and other health experts are recommending that people self-quarantine for 14 days. That length of time could be extended by the time you read this. 

COVID-19 Sparks “Panic Buying”

Since people are going to be hunkering down in their homes, they’re going to need an ample supply of food, household goods, and, yes, toilet paper. Many people are stocking up on pantry items, frozen foods, and fresh produce in bulk. Some are “panic buying,” or buying way more than they need. This puts further pressure on individuals to go out and procure supplies quickly.

Because of all the anxiety and uncertainty, grocery stores and other retail environments are going to be put in situations that have never been seen before. Employees are going to need to work quickly, perform multiple duties, manage crowds, and handle rapid stocking. 

In these scenarios, the risks for an injury on business property increase dramatically. Item stock or store equipment may be left in a precarious position, making it likely that someone can run into it and get hurt. The need for constant sanitation makes it more likely that a slip and fall accident may occur.

We are all doing the best we can, but businesses and property owners are still liable for injuries caused by their negligence. Anyone who has been hurt in a grocery store or other retail operation has the right to pursue a personal injury claim with the help of a slip and fall accident lawyer.

If you’ve been hurt recently at a grocery store, retail location, or other publicly accessible property, discuss your options during a free appointment with an experienced attorney. Call Steinger, Greene & Feiner today at (800) 431-6841 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation case review.

Fight Breaks out at Sam’s Club, Other Store Injuries Go Unreported

Thus far, there haven’t been too many reports of injuries, accidents, or conflicts occurring in retail environments. However, the news cycle is currently dominated by the pandemic.

One case that does appear in headlines is as follows: “Amid Coronavirus Panic-Buying, 2 Injured in Fight in Sam’s Club Wine Aisle.”

The incident involves two shoppers who got into an altercation when one allegedly struck the other’s shopping cart. They began arguing, which then escalated to trading blows with wine bottles.

There are no clear markers of liability in this case since it appears the dispute is a personal matter. But it does illustrate the fact that tensions are high throughout the Southeast and the world as a whole.

Another reason that there haven’t been any stories covering major store injuries is that these types of incidents often go unreported. For instance, a client of ours sustained major injuries after an accident caused by a maintenance company’s wayward hose. His case was not widely reported until the $1M+ verdict was announced.

What can be observed from news reports is that the risks of a retail property injury are all around us. 

Grocery stores in Florida have been forced to cut public hours to control demand and give employees time to restock. Businesses across the country have felt pressure as some are shuttered and others grapple with a surge in demand. Grocery delivery company Instacart has gone on a hiring surge to keep up with orders. Some stores are even offering “seniors only” shopping hours to protect those most at risk of contracting coronavirus.

Reducing Your Risk of Injury During Quarantine Supply Runs

Injuries are more likely than ever in both store aisles and parking lots. Here are some tips that could keep you safe.

  • Individuals should be cautious when arriving at stores and departing, especially if they are on foot, bicycle, or other forms of personal transportation.
  • Try to maintain social distancing (standing six feet apart from others) at all times.
  • Only go shopping when absolutely necessary to limit possible COVID exposure or spread.
  • Consider using grocery delivery services like Instacart to remove the need to travel for supplies. Many farmer’s markets have organized deliveries of fresh local produce, meats, and goods.
  • Be patient with store staff and fellow shoppers. Do not escalate altercations. Getting into conflicts increases the risk of contact and contamination.
  • Consider alternative sources of supplies. Many office supply stores carry toilet paper, sanitizer and other necessary goods, for example.
  • Check in on those who are most vulnerable in your community, like older family members and friends. Offer to bring them supplies or assist with ordering groceries online.

Do You Have a Personal Injury Case with an Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer?

Any time you are injured on a piece of private property, you have the opportunity to explore a possible injury claim. Speaking with an experienced premises liability lawyer can allow you to identify all potentially responsible parties. You can then estimate your full injury costs and request compensation in the form of an insurance claim.

All premises liability cases, such as slip and falls, involve four main parts:

  • Duty – The property owner or tenant had a duty of care to protect customers and visitors from harm. When safety risks cannot be reasonably removed, the defendant has a duty to warn others.
  • Breach – The defendant failed to uphold their duty of care, allowing a “foreseeable” hazard to arise.
  • Injury – The breach in the defendant’s duty directly caused an injury. For example, a failure to train employees to put out a wet floor sign after mopping can directly lead to a slip and fall injury.
  • Damages – The injury resulted in damages, including financial losses and pain and suffering.

When you meet with an experienced injury lawyer from Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we will examine your case to see if it meets all four criteria. We will then help you pursue an accident claim for the maximum amount of compensation available. 

Our history of working with insurers means we know what it takes to build a strong case. If your case needs to go to court, take comfort in the fact that we have a history of winning large verdicts on behalf of our clients.

Call us today at (800) 431-6841 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation appointment.

About The Author

Michael Steinger

Michael Steinger

The Florida BarFlorida Bar Young Lawyers DivisionMillion Dollar Advocates ForumMillion Dollar Advocates ForumBest Workers Compensation Attorneys in MiamiBest Car Accident Lawyers in MiamiLawyers of distinction

MICHAEL S. STEINGER, founding partner of Steinger, Greene & Feiner, believes in representing real people, not big businesses. Since the firm’s creation in 1997, Steinger, Greene & Feiner has never represented an insurance company or large corporation, and he vows to keep this promise. Over the course of his career, Michael has handled thousands of Florida accident cases, recovering millions of dollars for his clients and earning him membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Staying up-to-date on the ever-evolving laws protecting injury victims and their families, Michael is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Bar Associations, and sits on the Auto Insurance Committee of the Florida Justice Association.