If I’m pregnant and fell at the supermarket, can I file a claim?

I went to the supermarket and ordered sour cream from the deli counter. I placed the sour cream in my cart and walk away. A few steps later I slipped and fell. It was then that I realized the sour cream was not properly sealed because it was all over the floor. I fell and bruised my shi, but felt fine at the time. A week later I started having more pain than the usual and doctor suggested it was a pulled or torn ligament. I was planning to work until my due date which was I also did with my first son, however now with this pain it has been hard to get up in the morning and get myself to work. My dilemma now is that I may need to go on maternity earlier

than I expected which means I would not be able to continue working and saving money for our little one on the way because I am injured.

Asked on April 12, 2016 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There are two problems you face in a potential lawsuit:
1) First, since the sour cream was handed to you and you placed it in the cart, proving that the supermarket was at fault by not sealing the cream properly may be difficult: the reason it opened, after all, could be that you opened it to taste/try it, or you squeezed the container too hard and popped it open, or you bumped the lid while placing it in the cart, etc. If you caused the container to open, the supermarket would not be liable. Because you would be suing, you have the burden of proof; therefore, you would need to be able to prove why and how the cream opened and that it was not your fault, which again, may be difficult.
2) Second, even if you could prove liability, you can only recover for injuries, costs, and losses foreseeably caused by the accident. Medical costs for treating your ligament are foreseeable, from a fall, and you could recover for that. Some lost wages, for work missed *directly* due to the injury, would also be foreseeable. But it is not foreseeable tha an injured person would be a pregnant women, fairly near her due date, who would have to go on maternity early--that is not a normal, or foreseeable, consequence of a slip in a supermarket, and so you likely could not recover any compensation relating to having to take maternity leave early, limiting what you could get. 
So this is a case that may be difficult to prove and where you may be limited in the compensation you could receive.


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