Publix Slip and Fall Settlement Amounts and Lawsuits (2019)

Beige liquid on the supermarket sales floor. Next to a shopper.

Publix Supermarket’s negligence may cause you to slip, fall and get hurt.  If so, you may have a personal injury case with Publix.

This article is limited to slip and fall claims against Publix.  Here, I don’t talk about other types of accident claims with Publix in Florida.  We’ll focus on settlements and verdicts with Publix.

Do Most Slip and Fall Cases Against Publix Settle Before Trial?

Yes.  You may be able to settle your slip and fall case with Publix before filing a lawsuit.

The majority of slip and fall lawsuits against Publix settle before trial.

A few years ago, Miami-Dade County court records showed that Publix is sued between 2 and 7 times each month for premises liability cases.  I assume that the number today is probably similar.

Premises liability claims include slip, trip and falls and other accidents where a customers or someone else is hurt on Publix’s premises.

I don’t know the statistics for the rest of the state.  The cases in this article aren’t mine unless I specifically say so.

Expect to Get a Call or Email from Publix After You Slip and Fall

If you slip and fall at Publix, there is a good chance that Publix had you complete an accident report.  If so, the incident report may have asked for your email and/or phone number.

After your slip and fall, you should expect to receive a call or email.

Should you respond?

No, assuming that Publix knows about your slip and fall.  This also assumes that the shopper is considering hiring a lawyer.

And yes, there are 13 benefits of hiring an injury lawyer if you slip and fall at Publix.   At a bare minimum, you should know the benefits.  Even if you ultimately decide not to hire a lawyer.

Moreover, attorneys who handle slip and fall claims against Publix give a free consultation.

Why shouldn’t the customer respond to Publix’s claims department?

If the slip and fall has already been reported, the shopper doesn’t gain anything by responding.   Further, the experienced Publix claim adjuster will likely want to lock the shopper into giving a recorded statement.

If the shopper gives a statement to Publix, it could kill the case.

Why?

Because Publix can later use the shopper’s statement against him or her.

In fairness to Publix, they aren’t the only company who’ll use a guest’s statement against him or her.

If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that Walt Disney World has used a guest’s statement against her in a slip and fall case.   Specifically, a guest gave a statement before she had a lawyer.

Harmless, right?

Wrong!

She made a big mistake! And one that likely cost her money.

It decreased the full value of her slip and fall case for settlement purposes.  Further, when she made that statement, Disney World was already aware of her slip and fall.  In other words, she had nothing to gain my giving the statement.

Shopper Wins $1.5 Million Against Publix for Slip and Fall (Shoulder Injury)

Humeral head is the top of the humerus
Humeral head is the top of the humerus

Jessie Bellaiche slipped and fell at a Publix Supermarket in August 2010.  She suffered multiple-bone fracture of her left shoulder, including the complete dislocation and severing of the humeral head, as well as the detachment of her rotator cuff.

Jessie, a 70-year old woman, underwent major surgery to implant an artificial shoulder joint. The result of the surgery was poor.  She was left with only limited movement of her arm which could only be fixed with a second major surgery.

Bellaiche refused to undergo a second surgery.  Her attorney offered to settle with Publix for $126,000.00.  Publix didn’t accept the offer.

On November 20, 2015, a jury returned a verdict for Bellaiche and awarded her over $1.5 million in damages.

Want to know the best part?

The jury didn’t put any fault on the shopper for her fall.

The breakdown was:

Bellaiche’s future life expectancy at the time was 12.9 years.

The bad news for the injured shopper?

On March 18, 2018, Miami-Dade County’s appeals court said that Publix wasn’t aware that there was water on the floor before the shopper’s fall.  Without notice, they said Publix should have been entitled to have the case dismissed before a jury verdict.

Thus, the appeals court ruled in favor of Publix.  The shopper gets no compensation.

This case shows that slip and fall cases can be tough.  It also shows that a trial court may approve a big pain and suffering verdict for a bad injury that requires a shoulder joint replacement.

The case is Jessie Bellaiche v. Publix (3rd DCA Florida 2018).

Shopper Slips on Detergent That Just Spilled (Court Dismissed Case)

In Dominguez v. Publix Super Mkts., Inc., 187 So. 3d 892, 895 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016), Caridad Dominguez slipped and fell on a patch of laundry detergent that had come out of the top of a bottle that had just fallen from a Publix Super Markets store shelf.

She had claimed that the accident caused two disc herniations, specifically C4-C5 and C5-C6.

At the time the bottle fell, a Publix assistant grocery manager, Keith Nation, was examining shelves at the opposite end of the aisle.

Upon hearing the crash, Nation, ran to the spot of the spill. The video shows Nation straddling the spill and bending over to right the bottle nine seconds after the bottle fell.

Four seconds later, Ms. Dominguez rounds into the aisle and slips on the detergent. Nation’s back was to Dominguez as she turned the aisle.

As seen from the video camera, the entire incident, from the time Nation heard the bottle fall to the time Dominguez slipped, took thirteen seconds.

The court said that Publix didn’t have a duty to warn Dominguez of the substance on the floor.  The detergent patch was open and obvious.

The court said that what Nation in the five seconds after he walked to the spill was reasonable and showed ordinary care.  The court dismissed the shopper’s case.

Herniated Disc Claims from Slip and Falls at Publix

Arrow pointing to herniated disc in lower back.
Herniated disc.  Not from actual Publix case.

The cases in this article are not mine unless I specifically say so.

Learn about herniated disc slip and fall claims against Publix Supermarkets.

Shoulder Injury Claims from Slip and Falls at a Florida Publix

Human shoulder. proximal humerus and humeral head. scapula and clavicle color image. ribs.
Human Shoulder.

$18K Settlement for Slip and Fall at Publix (Miami)

My client claimed a rotator cuff tear after she allegedly slipped and fell on water.  It happened at Publix Supermarkets in Cutler Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The case settled before a lawsuit.  The amounts of all settlements in this article are the gross settlements before attorneys’ fees, doctors’ bills, etc. were deducted.

Most cases result in a lower recovery.  It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.

Below is a diagram of the shoulder.

Shoulder Joint. Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint, acromion,

$193,500 Verdict for Slip and Fall at Publix (Shoulder Injury)

This isn’t my case.  She slipped and fell on an unknown substance at Publix in Broward County, Florida.

Doctors diagnosed her with a torn rotator cuff that required surgery.  She also claimed neck (cervical) and back (lumbar) strains, and bruises to her arm.

The shopper argued that Publix failed to provide a safe environment for her.  She also claimed that Publix negligently allowed a dangerous condition remain for an unreasonable length of time.

The shopper’s attorney alleged that Publix failed to remedy or warn of the known dangerous condition.

Publix denied liability and argued that the woman was not hurt as bad as she claimed. The jury found her to be 5% at fault.

A jury awarded $69,500 for pain and suffering.  They also awarded her $44,000 for past medical expenses, and $80,000 for future medical expenses.

The total verdict was for $193,500. The case is Lopez v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc. 05-1465.

My thoughts: The woman who fell was awarded $69,500 for pain and suffering. Most of this money was probably for her torn rotator cuff that required surgery.

This is because most juries do not award much for a simple neck and back pain or bruises. This award for pain and suffering is below the average settlement range for a torn rotator cuff with surgery in Florida.

$4,300 Awarded for Slip and Fall at Publix (Knee Injury)

This isn’t my case.  The 55 year-old male shopper, a physician’s assistant, claimed that there was water on the floor in the floral department of Publix in Fort Pierce (St. Lucie County), Florida.

He claimed that he slipped on the water.  He claimed that his torn meniscus was caused by hyperextending her knee.

Additionally, he also had surgery for a torn rotator cuff (shoulder).

He claimed that the water was there because an employee was watering plants before he slipped and fell on the water.

He was allegedly in prison for 2 1/2 years on a felony drug charge, but apparently the court did not allow Publix to mention his felony conviction at trial.

His doctor recommended a total knee replacement and more shoulder surgery. The future estimated medical bills were $100,000.

My thoughts: I am unsure how much fault, if any, was placed on the shopper for not paying attention. Apparently, Publix was not allowed to mention his felony conviction at the time of trial.

Normally, the judge will allow the Plaintiff to either admit or deny whether he has a felony.

The amount that was awarded for pain and suffering surgery for a rotator cuff surgery and a meniscus surgery is way below the average settlement range for those injuries.  This wasn’t my case.

Neck Injury Claims from Slip and Falls at a Florida Publix

Learn about claims if Publix’s carelessness caused a customer to slip, fall and hurt their neck in Florida.

Knee Injury Claims against Publix in Florida

Man in pain holding knee. Doctor and nurse examining him.

$250,587 Verdict for Slip and Fall at Publix (Knee Fracture)

This isn’t my case.  A female shopper who suffered a patella (knee) fracture when she slipped and fell in a check-out line.  She was in a Publix Supermarket in Palm Beach County, Florida.

She argued that Publix allowed water that spilled from a flower display near the checkout area to stay on the floor for an unreasonable length of time, and that Publix did not warn or clean the water.

My thoughts: This verdict tells me very little about the case.  It does not say how much money was awarded for pain and suffering. This accident happened in 2006 and the law has become more difficult since then.

If this case went to trial with the new law, the woman would have to prove that Publix knew or should have known that the water was on the floor.

Publix admitted liability (fault) in this case. It is not typical for a grocery store to admit that they caused a slip and fall.

Note: Apparently the entire verdict was for past medical bills. I think this is an error. This case was Stanridge v. Publix Supermarkets Inc. 07-11954 AJ.

$46,264 Verdict for Slip and Fall at Publix (Broken Kneecap)

This isn’t my case.  A 47-year-old female shopper fell down in Publix supermarket in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2004.

She fractured her patella, which required surgery with wires placed inside his knee. She had four months of physical therapy.

Her doctor said that she had a 6% impairment to her body, and another doctor testified that she had a 15% impairment and that she would need about $60,000 in future medical treatment. The doctor hired by Publix said that the Plaintiff had a 3% impairment.

The female shopper alleged that she fell on water while shopping at Publix.  Publix argued that she was at fault.  Publix argued that there was no water on the floor.

Additionally, Publix claimed that the injured victim’s previous health condition could have caused or contributed to her fall.  The accident victim received an offer from Publix of $65,000.  She rejected it.

She was then offered $100,000, which she also rejected. Subsequently, her attorney told her to accept the offers. The jury heard testimony that she had a prior doubtful claim.

At trial (in 2004), the jury awarded her $5,000 for past pain and suffering.  The jury also awarded her $35,264.39 in past medical expenses and $5,000 in future medical expenses. The case is Snead v. Publix.

My thoughts: The amount awarded to the shopper for pain and suffering is way below the average settlement value for knee (patella fracture) with surgery.

The value of pain and suffering is just one part to knowing how much a case is worth.

As a starting point, I believe for settlement purposes the value of pain and suffering on a patella fracture is between $50,000 and $75,000.

You can check out some of my Florida slip and fall settlements. I want to represent you if you fell in Publix or had another type of accident or incident where you were injured.

$4,300 (Not my case): Awarded for Pain and Suffering for a surgery for a torn meniscus in right knee meniscus caused by hyperextending of knee.  I talked about this verdict in the shoulder injury section above.

2013 – Defense Verdict (not my case).  A lady sued Publix after she claimed that she suffered a left knee contusion and other injuries.  I talked about this verdict in the wrist section above.

Back Injury Claims against Publix in Florida

Lady holding lower back.
ACTRESS.

$31,000 jury verdict (not mine) for pain and suffering alone for a female shopper in a slip and fall case.  It happened at Publix Super Markets, Inc. in Marion County, Florida.

She alleged that she had to undergo a back surgery (percutaneous discectomy).

She slipped and fell on a liquid substance inside of a Publix grocery store.  You can read more about this case and my thoughts on it.

$47,500 Settlement (Not my case) for a 53-year-old woman who slipped and fell at a Publix in Broward County, Florida. She had multiple bulging discs in the neck and lower back as well as a knee contusion (bruise).

She slipped and fell on water in the frozen food section. Her husband filed a loss of consortium claim against Publix. Publix admitted liability (fault).

My thoughts: I am not sure how many disc bulges the shopper had.  I do not know the amount of medical bills that she had to pay from this accident.

As a starting point only, the full value for the pain and suffering component of a bulging disc is between $10,000 and $15,000.

This case is one of the first reported cases against Publix since the new slip and fall law went into effect on July 1, 2010. Surprisingly Publix admitted liability (fault).

I could not find any information as to how the shopper was able to show that Publix knew or should have known that the water was on the floor.

The case is Jeanne Michel and Jacques Jules vs. Publix Supermarkets, Inc. 11-004678.

Hand and Wrist Injury Claims from Slip and Falls at a Publix

Learn about claims if Publix’s carelessness caused a customer to slip, fall and hurt their hand or wrist in Florida. See cases. Get tips from an expert slip and fall lawyer.

Shopper was not required to produce privileged attorney-client communications to Publix

Montanez v. Publix Super Mkts., Inc., 135 So.3d 510, 512 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014) is an appeal.  Iris Montanez sued Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Florida’s District Court of Appeal Fifth District issued an opinion on March 28, 2014.

City and County Where you Fell in Florida May Affect Slip and Fall Settlement Value

It is comprised of Hernando, Lake, Marion, Citrus and Sumter Counties; Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia Counties; Orange and Osceola Counties; and Brevard and Seminole Counties.

A Orlando attorney represented Montanez.  Tallahassee and Orlando, Florida lawyers from Akerman, LLP represented Publix.

Iris Montanez asked the appeals court to review of an order requiring her to give documents to Publix.

Because the order improperly required Montanez to produce privileged attorney-client communications, the appeals court agreed with Montanez.  She did not have to produce them.

Montanez filed a negligence lawsuit against Publix Super Markets, Inc., claiming that on June 1, 2011, she suffered serious bodily injury as the result of a slip and fall on a large puddle of water at a Publix store located in Lake County, Florida.

As part of the lawsuit process, Publix sent interrogatories (written questions) to Montanez.  The answers to interrogatories were signed by Montanez and verified as being “true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge.”

One question read and was answered (paraphrased) as follows:

Interrogatory:

“10. Please provide a detailed explanation of the following:

. . . .

(c) Provide all facts which form the basis for the claims within your lawsuit that Publix knew a dangerous condition existed on the premises.

Answer:

Publix’s responsibility is to maintain premises safe for the public. The liquid had been on the floor long enough that defendant should have discovered it.”

At her subsequent deposition (sworn verbal testimony), Montanez was asked about her answer to a question. She responded that although she had signed the answers to interrogatories, the listed answer to interrogatory had not been provided by her.

She went on to testify that she did not know the length of time that the puddle of water had been present prior to her slip and fall.

The court did not require her to give her handwritten answers to Publix.

Deposition may be taken before getting store security video of slip and fall

Judith McClure sued Publix Supermarkets, Inc.

McClure v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 124 So. 3d 998 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2013 is a decision written by the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District.

The Florida 4th District Court of Appeal hears appeals from Palm Beach, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties.

On November 6, 2013 the court of appeals stated that a customer in a slip and fall negligence case may have her deposition (verbal sworn testimony) taken before Publix Super Markets gives her store security video of the slip and fall.

Tip:  This is another reason to complete a slip and fall questionnaire as soon as possible after falling at Publix.

In this case, McClure slipped and fell in a Publix grocery store. Store security cameras recorded the fall.  She sued Publix for her injuries.

Publix does not have to produce incident reports for slips and falls at kiosks located at all Florida Publix stores

Marisol Santos filed suit against Publix for common law negligence and negligent mode of operation.  Publix Supermarkets, Inc. v. Santos, 118 So. 3d 317 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013) is an appeal.

Florida’s 3d DCA handles appeals from Miami-Dade and Monroe County, Florida.  Santos alleged she was an invitee on May 25, 2011, at a specific Publix store located in Miami, Florida.

She also alleged that she slipped and fell as a result of “old wet spinach or some other transitory substance” on the floor at that Publix store.

Santos alleged that the operation of a kiosk caused a dangerous condition. The substance was found at or near that kiosk located in the store.

The kiosk is part of the Publix Aprons Program where Publix provides recipes and in-store cooking demonstrations to customers for their in-store sampling.  Publix stated that there were no slip and falls at the subject store in the three years before her accident.

The appeals court ruled that Publix did not have to produce incident reports that dealt with slips and falls at kiosks located at all Publix stores in the State of Florida. I do not know what the outcome of this case was (e.g. settlement, trial, etc.).

Norman Goldman And Carol Goldman Vs. Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Norman Goldman and Carol Goldman sued Publix Supermarkets.  They received a verdict on October 24, 2012.

A jury awarded Norman $153,121.01.  The breakdown is:

Apparently they did not award his wife anything for her loss consortium.

Parkland, Florida lawyers represented the injured person. The West Palm Beach lawyers of the Gaebe, Mullen firm represented Publix.

(Side Note: This is not my case.  However, in a separate Miami ankle injury trip and fall case, I sued an office complex, property manager and landscaping company.  The same law firm, Gaebe Mullen, were the defense attorneys.  The entire case settled for $64,900.)

Back to the Publix case.  Norman claimed personal injuries.  Unfortunately, I do not know what body parts he hurt.

Facts

On February 5, 2010, Norman was a customer in Publix Supermarket in Boca Raton, Florida.  He claimed that he slipped and fell on dog food and liquid that was on the floor.

Almost one year later, he sued Publix.  He claimed that Publix was negligent in allowing a dangerous condition to exist and that he was hurt as a result.

His wife made a loss of consortium claim.  Publix allegedly denied liability.

The jury found Publix 75% negligent and Norman 25% negligent.  Therefore, Norman was entitled to 75% of the total verdict.

Catherine Treacy v. Publix SuperMarkets

Publix was found not at fault for a visitor’s slip and fall in Lee County, Florida.  Treacy claimed that Publix negligently allowed wet debris to gather on the floor, which caused her to slip and fall.

Publix got a defense verdict on June 14, 2012.  This means that the jury said that Publix’s negligence, if any, was not the cause of her injuries.

A Fort Myers lawyer represented the shopper.  Publix was defended by Naples, Florida attorneys of the Wicker Smith law firm.

(Side note: This is not my case.  However, I had a personal injury case against a Miami Beach restaurant where that same defense law firm defended the restaurant.  That case settled without having to sue the restaurant.)

Facts

Publix denied liability.  It argued that the shopper’s negligence was a contributing cause of her fall.

She sued for permanent bodily injuries, pain and sufferingmedical expenses and lost wages.

Publix Super Markets, Inc. v. Worley, 90 So. 3d 859 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2012

In Worley, William Worley and Rhonda Worley sued Publix Supermarkets.  The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in this case on June 2012.

Publix’s used a Coral Gables, Florida lawyer.  The injured man and his wife used a Maitland, Florida attorney.

This case arises out of a slip-and-fall accident at Publix in which Worley hit his head on the handle of the door to a refrigerated case. The door handle cut Worley’s forehead and required nine sutures to close the wound.

The jury found that Publix was 100% at fault and awarded Worley $6,079.19 in past medical expenses but gave him nothing for future medical expenses, past lost wages or future lost wages, or past or future non-economic damages.

The trial court determined that Worley should have received something for past non-economic damages in light of the jury finding that he was entitled to past medical expenses and that Publix was 100% at fault.

The court offered to give Worley $20,000 or alternatively a new trial. Worley elected a new trial.  On appeal, Publix argued that the judge should not have granted Worley $20,000 in noneconomic damages.

The appeals court sided with Worley and gave him a new trial on past non-economic damages.

Toledo v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 30 So. 3d 712 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2010

On December 31, 2004, Toledo slipped and fell in a parking lot adjacent to a Publix supermarket. She suffered an injury that required lumbar surgery. Toledo sued Publix, CH Realty Cypress, LP (the owners or managers of the parking lot), and other defendants.

Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So.2d 315, 329 (Fla. 2001)

In Owens, Evelyn Owens and John Owens sued Publix Supermarket.  I talk about the parts of this case that are still good law.

Owens slipped on a brown banana without a peel.  The Florida supreme court said that the condition of the banana raised a basis for establishing the store’s constructive knowledge.

Whether the aging occurred before the banana fell or whether the aging occurred on the floor is an issue for the jury, as are the reasonable inferences from the failure to sweep the floors regularly.

Learn more about the Owens case.

A Dirty and Oily Floor Can Help the Shopper’s Case

In Altman v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 579 So.2d 351 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991), the plaintiff slipped and fell at the supermarket.  Though this case is older, it is still good law.

She testified that the floor was dirty, oily and garbage strewn. Additionally, she said that “grocery cart tracks and footprints traversed the dirty area where she fell.”

The Court ruled that her testimony was enough evidence to present a fact question as to whether a dangerous condition was created by the store’s employees… and whether the dangerous condition on the floor existed for a sufficient length of time to charge the defendant with constructive notice.”

This means that the case was allowed to go the jury.

Publix Super Market, Inc. v. Sanchez, 700 So.2d 405, 406 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997)

The 1997 appeal of Sanchez involved Olga Maria Sanchez’s lawsuit against Publix Supermarket.  This is an older case but it is still good law.  It was decided by the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District.

Publix was defended by a Miami lawyer.  The injured lady was represented by a Miami attorney.

The plaintiff, Olga Maria Sanchez, was injured while shopping at Publix when she slipped and fell on what appeared to be a piece of cake.  She sued Publix for personal injury alleging that it created a dangerous condition and negligently maintained its premises.

The evidence showed that the plaintiff fell near a demonstration table where small pieces of cake were available for customers to sample.  At the time that the plaintiff fell, the demonstration table was not manned by a Publix employee.

However, there was no evidence as to how long the cake had been on the floor or who had dropped the piece of cake on the floor. A Publix assistant store manager testified that Publix store policy requires that demonstration tables be manned by a Publix employee at all times.

He also acknowledged that when customers drop food that is being sampled, a hazardous condition is created.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.  However, Publix applied. The appeals court agreed with Publix.

In the instant case, the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, showed that Publix did not have either actual or constructive notice of the alleged substance on the floor.

Specifically, there was no evidence that a Publix employee knew that there was a foreign substance on the floor. Further, there was no evidence as to how long the substance had been on the floor or who had dropped the substance on the floor. Finally, there was no evidence that this alleged condition occurred with such frequency that Publix should have known of its existence.

Publix Super Markets, Inc. v. Schmidt, 509 So. 2d 977 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987)

Dorothy M. Schmidt and Walter C. Schmidt, her husband sued Publix.  A 2015 Florida case, Garcia v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Dist. Court, MD 2015 (in Orlando) cited the Schmidt case.  (Learn about slip and fall injury claims against Florida Walmart stores.)  The Schmidt case is still good law.

She was injured when she slipped and fell while shopping.  While at the hospital, the she noticed a greasy stain on her skirt.

In Publix Super Markets, Inc. v. Schmidt509 So. 2d 977 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987), the appeals court said that the evidence, taken in the light most favorable to the customer, was notenough to support a verdict in her favor.

Regardless of whether the jury could conclude that plaintiff slipped on a greasy substance, there was no proof that Publix or its employees were at fault, or that the substance was on the floor for a sufficient length of time to put defendant on notice. Evens v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., 468 So.2d 1111 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985)  (Learn about Florida slip and fall injury claims against airlines); Gaidymowicz, 371 So.2d at 212McDaniel v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 327 So.2d 893 (Fla. 3d DCA 1976)Friedman v. Biscayne Restaurant, Inc., 254 So.2d 831 (Fla. 3d DCA 1971).  (Learn about slip and fall injury claims against Florida restaurants).

The appeals court cited the case of Nielsen v. City of Sarasota, 117 So.2d 731 (Fla. 1960), the supreme court summarized:

“In a civil case, a fact may be established by circumstantial evidence as effectively and as conclusively as it may be proved by direct positive evidence.

The Schmidt court held that there was “no proof that Publix or its employees were at fault, or that the substance was on the floor for a sufficient length of time to put a defendant on notice.” Because of this lack of proof, the jury’s verdict impermissibly relied on “inferences on top of inferences” to explain the fall.

Learn more about this case where a Florida court dismissed a shopper’s case for a slip and fall near a Publix deli counter.

Florida Slip and Falls Statute

Section 768.0755, Florida Statutes, applies to all negligence claims arising from a slip and fall in Florida supermarkets, including Publix.  It states that:

(1) If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actualor constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:

(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or

(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

Actual or Constructive Notice

Take a look at the picture below.

Beige liquid on the supermarket sales floor. Next to a shopper.

You could slip on this liquid and fall in a Florida Publix.  If you did, the aforementioned statute would apply.

In order to recover damages if you slip and fall on the beige looking liquid in the above picture, you have to show that Publix knew or should have known that it was on the floor before you fell.

How do you prove that Publix should have known that the liquid was on the floor before you fell?

Request that Publix Preserve Surveillance Video

Immediately send a letter, to the actual Publix where you fell, which asks them to preserve any surveillance video and pictures of the incident.  I talk more about video surveillance in my Florida Publix accident article.

If the injured person sues and Publix destroys the video after a formal request to produce (after you sue them) is received, the court may deem liability admitted and the only issues will be causation and damages.

What to look for in Publix’s Surveillance video

You want to ask for the video that begins as many hours as possible before your fall, and ends as many hours as possible after your fall.  Cases can be won and lost based on the length of the video before and after the fall.

The best scenario for the injured person is that the video shows the substance on the floor for a long time before your fall.  It helps the victim if the video does not show any Publix employees inspecting the video for as long as possible before the fall.

It would also be great for the injured person’s case if the video shows other shoppers slipping on the liquid before the fall.

Proving Constructive Notice Through Testimony

The injured person may also be able to prove constructive notice through his or her own testimony, as well as witness testimony.  The substance may have characteristics which can create an inference that it has been on the floor for a long time before you fell.

If you noticed and testify that the substance was dirty, partially dried, had tracks or footprints on or around it, this may be enough to show constructive notice.

Before your memory fades, and it will, answer the twenty-one page personal injury questionnaire and a slip and fall questionnaire.

The questionnaires ask great questions that can help build your case.  These questionnaires show how fact specific a slip and fall case against Publix is.  If you cannot prove that Publix knew or should have known that the substance was on the floor, your case is worthless.

How Does a Shopper’s Negligence Affects a Case Against Publix?
Comparative Fault on victim against Publix

Assuming you can show that Publix knew or should have known that the substance was on the floor before you fell, the full value of your claim is reduced by your percentage of faultin the slip and fall.

This can be best illustrated by the picture below.

Arrow pointing to beige puddle of liquid on the floor of a supermarket.
Arrow pointing to beige puddle of liquid on the floor of a supermarket.

Assume you are walking in the direction of the arrow.  You are walking in the individual aisle headed towards the main area of the sales floor that connects all the aisles.  You could slip and fall on the liquid that is seen in the photo.

If so, Publix will reduce the value of your case by a percentage for your fault for not seeing this liquid before you fell.  Publix will argue that there was so much liquid on the floor.

They will say that it is open and obvious and a reasonable shopper would have seen it and walked around it.

Publix will argue that since the liquid is beige, it contrasts with the floor and customers can easily see it.  Based on those reasons, Publix would probably assign at least 50% fault on the shopper in this scenario for not seeing the liquid before he or she fell.

The adjuster may ask to take a recorded statement, to which you should NEVER agree.  He or she may ask the injured claimant whether he or she saw the substance on the floor before the fall.

The claimant may say that he or she saw the substance on the floor before the fall.  If so, the adjuster will probably discount the full value of the case by at least 50%.

The adjuster may ask the claimant whether he or she was looking at the floor while walking before the fall.

The injured person may say that he or she was not looking down at the floor while he or she was walking before the fall.  If so, the adjuster may further reduce the value of the claim due to the claimant’s comparative fault.

The shopper’s counter argument may be that he or she was looking at advertisements, sales and coupons which are strategically placed throughout the store to attract the customer’s attention.

If a substance is difficult to see on the floor, then less fault is generally assigned to the customer.  The customer would have a better case if there was less liquid on the floor.

The case would also be better if the color was white (or a light color) and blended in with the floor.

It is possible that under those circumstances very little fault would be assigned to the injured person.

Another Example (Shopper Slips After Just Entering the Aisle)

Now let’s take the same photo except we will assume that you are walking from top to bottom.

Arrow pointing to beige puddle of liquid on the floor of a Florida supermarket.
Arrow pointing to beige puddle of liquid on the floor of a Florida supermarket.

In other words, you just began walking in this individual aisle.  Your case is stronger than the first example because here you can argue that you just entered the aisle.

You can argue that you had less time to see the liquid on the floor before the fall.

The adjuster will still discount the value of your case because you had already taken several steps before you fell.

Publix will argue that you should have seen the liquid before the fall.

The best slip and fall case against Publix is when you just turned a corner and slipped after taking your first step.  This is because you can argue that you did not have any time to see spilled liquid on the floor.

What Other Factors Affect a Publix Slip and Fall Settlement?

There are many factors that affect the value of a Publix slip and fall case.  Some of those are:

Other factors that may affect whether you have a case against a Florida Publix are:

  • The significance of a witness who saw you fall.
  • Your case if another customer was not in the bathroom before, during or after your fall.
  • Reporting your fall and the impact of not reporting your fall.
  • The importance of store video surveillance.
  • What to look for on Publix’s surveillance video.
  • The goal of getting the case to a jury.

Slip and fall in a Publix bathroom

If you slip and fall in a bathroom in Publix, you should take a picture of the cleaning log, which may be posted on the inside of the restroom door. I have been to a Publix in Miami where I practically always see a cleaning log on the men’s restroom door.

The cleaning log on the door has an area for a Publix employee to sign indicating every time the restroom/bathroom was cleaned.  When I use the bathroom at this Publix, I look at the cleaning log.

I have never once seen it signed which leads me to believe that this particular Publix was not following protocol at that moment.

I wonder if other Publix Supermarkets in Florida have this cleaning log on the door and whether employees actually sign off on the log after they inspect the bathroom. This is assuming they inspect it.

Slip and fall due to a Leaking AC unit in the ceiling

I was shopping inside the Publix in Coral Gables, Florida. I saw water on the floor in the dairy aisle. I’ve represented people who slip, fall and are injured for almost 15 years.

Thus, I tend to be on the lookout for liquid or another substance on the floor when I am in a supermarket.

I also pay particular attention to things on the floor in Publix. I anticipate that if you sue them they will say “Our employees are always on the lookout for things or substances on the floor.”

As a side note, the next time you are in Publix I challenge you to look at one of the employees — who is walking — for about 30 seconds.  Pay attention to how much of the time he or she is looking to see if there are items on the floor.

I would say sometimes never.  Often times, maybe for 3 seconds out of the 30 seconds.

Back to my story. There were about 5 areas of small clear water puddles and I was unsure where the water came from or how long it had been on the floor.

I looked up and saw that about 5 ceiling tiles were missing and I could see the gray AC duct.

In this situation if you slipped and fell on this water and were injured then you could argue that Publix knew that there was a leak from the AC duct.

This is because Publix (or an Air conditioning repair or maintenance company hired by Publix) removed the ceiling tiles.  There was water leaking from the area without ceiling tiles.

You can check out these 27 factors that affect a Florida slip and fall case.

I want to represent you if you slipped and fell in a Publix supermarket – or any other store – in Florida. Call me now at (888) 594-3577 for a free consultation! I accept all types of slip and fall cases and many other types of accident cases.

Mats inside at the entrance to Publix

Publix should have a mat or carpet inside the store entrance.

Carpet inside a supermarket entrance.
Carpet inside a supermarket entrance.

This may help reduce people tracking water and debris into the store.  This store is following a good practice.

Other causes of accidents at Publix could be:

  • Falling merchandise
  • Dangerous Store Fixtures
  • Crime
  • Foodborne Illness
  • Defective Products
  • Sale of Alcohol

Sample Florida Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against Publix

Check out a draft of a lawsuit for a Florida slip and fall injury case against Publix.  I will use this as my boilerplate complaint in a future slip and fall lawsuit against Publix in Florida.

Sending a Draft Lawsuit to Publix’s adjuster

You may be close to settling a personal injury case, but an adjuster will not budge.  The injured person may want to send a draft lawsuit to show that he or she will quickly file a lawsuit should the case not settle.

What Damages are Recoverable against a Florida Publix in a Slip and Fall Case?

Patient Bill. Pharmacy, Medical record fees, previous balances.

If Publix’s negligence caused your injury, then you may be entitled to damages.  They are similar to the damages in any Florida injury case.  These damages are:

  • Past Lost Income
  • Future lost income reduced to present value
  • Medical expenses
  • Replacement value of lost personal property (e.g. damage to your car, etc.)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive Damages (in rare cases)

What Duty of Care Does Publix Owe Its Shoppers?

PublixPremises Liability

In Florida, Publix owes invitees two duties:

Inspection

1) to use reasonable care in keeping and maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe condition; and

Warning sign

2) to give the invitee warning of concealed perils which are known or should be known to the landowner, and which are unknown to the invite and cannot be discovered by him through the exercise of due care.

Situations where you may have a premises liability case against a Florida Publix:

How Long Do You have to Sue Publix after a Slip and Fall in Florida?

The time limit to sue Publix for a slip and fall in Florida is four (years).  This is because a slip and fall lawsuit is based on negligence.

Will Publix Send You to a Doctor? Will Publix Pay You an Advance on a Settlement?

If you’re injured while shopping at Publix, don’t wait for Publix to send you to a doctor. It won’t happen.  They don’t have to.

Publix likely won’t give a shopper an advance payment before he or she settles the personal injury case.

Which Florida Lawyers Handle Slip and Fall Cases Against Publix Supermarkets?

Yellow Caution wet floor sign on supermarket floor.

There are many Florida attorneys who represent slip and fall victims against Publix.  I am a Miami slip and fall lawyer who accepts injury cases against Publix supermarkets in Florida.  I am willing and able to represent injury victims anywhere in Florida.

If Publix’s carelessness caused your slip and fall in Florida, I want to represent you.  I am ready, willing and able to represent you.

I have settled cases with Publix before.  However, I don’t call myself a Publix injury lawyer.  That title could imply that I work for Publix.  I do not.

I can also help you with another type of accident claim against Publix in Florida.

Who is the Best lawyer for a Florida Publix slip and fall Case?

It is unethical for a Florida lawyer to call themselves the “best” slip and fall lawyer.  So I cannot call myself the best Florida Publix slip and fall lawyer.

However, attorneys can say that they are experienced at handling Publix slip and fall cases. I am experienced at representing Florida supermarket injury victims in slip and fall cases.

I love to represent and help people who are slip and fall and get hurt.

Want to learn more about Publix injury claims in Florida?

Check out these articles:

Did Publix’s carelessness cause you to slip or trip and fall and suffer an injury in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?  Were you injured in another type of accident?

See Our Settlements

Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to slip or trip and falls, supermarket or store accidents, accidents at an apartment complex, condo building or home, restaurant accidents, hotel accidents, day care accidents, cruise ship accidents and much more.

We want to represent you!

Our Miami law firm represents people injured anywhere in Florida in slip, trip and fallsstore or supermarket accidentscruise ship or boat accidentsaccidents at an apartment complex, condo building or home, and many other types of accidents.

We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.

Call Us Now!

Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

No Fees or Costs if We Do Not Get You Money
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I will not become your attorney by you leaving a comment. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit. All comments will be public. This includes the name that you enter. I only represent people who were hurt in Florida or on a cruise ship; or if the injured person lives in Florida or a family member (in the case of a death) lives in Florida. This is because I am only licensed in Florida.

Comments

  1. Alex says

    I was in and there was liquid from a kiwi on the floor and in 2 spots. I have pictures of it I went down with one leg one way and the other the other way and split me in two with me slamming floor.

    It’s on video at the store. I can barely walk and my back is killing me and my shoulder. I went to ER right away.

    I will need therapy my knee is all swollen and other leg. I hurt more today then yesterday.

    Do I have a case against them?

    I know I do cuz I don’t know if I can work I do lifting and bending and walking at work.

    • Justin Ziegler, Lawyer says

      Alex:

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry that you were injured.

      I assume that you when you say that you were “in”, you’re referring to being inside the store.

      I also assume that your fall happened at Publix.

      You may have a personal injury case against Publix.

      I don’t know what the video shows.

      Do you know How:

      1. The kiwi get to be on the floor?
      2. Long was it on the floor before you fell?

      I hope that you feel better.

      I wish you good luck. Most importantly, I hope that you feel better.

      If you’re accident happened in Florida, or if you live in Florida, and you’re considering hiring a lawyer, you can call me at 305-661-9977. I only take injury cases against Publix if the injured person gets medical treatment.

      You can also find out online for free if we can represent you by completing this simple form: https://www.justinziegler.net/landing-page-free-consult/

      Disclaimer: My reply only applies to accidents in Florida, which is where I’m licensed. My reply is written for general information only. Individual cases demand individual treatment. I am not your lawyer. My reply is not intended as legal advice or opinion. You should speak with a lawyer immediately.

      There is a time limit to sue. If you miss the time limit, you forever lose your right to sue.

      I am not expressing any opinion on your particular case.