“Spill on Aisle 7”: The Unexpected Hazards of Shopping

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November 29th, 2010 in Liability & Fault

Shopping can be dangerous sport. Accidents result daily in grocery stores, convenience stores, retail establishments, malls, department stores and so on. The “Spill on Aisle 7” may be you.

In fact, these accidents often result in very serious personal injury. Sometimes, the seriousness of the injuries may not be immediately apparent.

There are many stores that will attempt to take advantage of the fact that the injuries do not immediately appear serious. Some will attempt to get an injured customer to sign a release immediately, even before leaving the store, for a nominal amount of money. It is not uncommon for stores to offer $100 or less for full settlement of claims. Neither is it uncommon for injured customers to take the deal.

Unfortunately, they often soon find that it was not benevolence or good will that dictated the offer of settlement. They will also find that the settlement agreement and release of claims is fully enforceable with few exceptions, no matter how serious the injuries turn out to be.

The lesson is clear! There is no good reason to settle at the time of the accident. There is never any reason to sign a release of claims before you know what claims you may have. In other words, you cannot possibly exercise reasonable judgment in settling claims until you know what your injuries are. You often cannot know the full extent of your injuries without medical attention.

For example, customers often suffer slip and fall accidents. Among the most common injuries suffered in these kinds of accidents are twisted knees. What may seem like simply a sore knee may later turn out to be a torn ACL or MCL. Other injuries may also appear at first less serious than they really are. A sore wrist turns out to be a broken radius. A sore tailbone or lower back is a ruptured or herniated disc. The list goes on.

The stores know this. This is the purpose behind the quick settlement. It is certainly not driven by customer service and appreciation. It is a cynical and profit driven tactic to avoid full responsibility for accidents that occur in their facilities.

If you are injured in an accident like this, take some time to make sure you are o.k. If your pain persists, see a doctor. If your injuries are serious and the store is responsible for the accident, then you may also want to consult an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney.

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