Visitor Question

Should I hire an attorney or take what is offered for my back injury?

Submitted By: Lauren (Gainesville, Florida)

On September 8, 2017, I was shopping at my local Publix the day before a hurricane was supposed to hit my town. There were several palates of water placed in the front of the store. There was only one left of the brand I liked which was directly on the floor. When I lifted it to put it in my cart, my back popped and I immediately had great pain.

I told the customer service clerk I was in pain and about to pass out, she offered a chair but I could not sit because of the pain. An assistant manager took the report of the incident. My fiance picked me up and I left by wheelchair to go to the hospital. The ER visit with lab services and a Cat scan indicated a soft tissue injury. I’m still in pain a week later despite rest and medication.

A claims adjuster from Publix called today to check on me but I missed the call. Should I try to settle with the adjuster or hire a lawyer?

Thank you in advance.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Lauren,

Based on the facts, it is difficult to see how Publix would be liable for your injuries and resulting medical treatment. In order for Publix to be held liable, you will have to prove they were negligent in some way. There doesn’t appear to be any.

This is especially true as you allude to your wanting to purchase the same brand of water you like. If that’s the case, you previously lifted the same brand and weight of water you have in the past. With that understood, you knew, or should have known the water was of a certain weight.

There is no evidence Publix added any weight to the water, or otherwise made the water unnecessarily more difficult to lift. It can be presumed other customers were purchasing and lifting water of similar types and weight, whether from the top of the palettes, the center, or the bottom.

While your injury is unfortunate, unless you can prove that Publix purposely or negligently added weight to the water, or had the water otherwise inappropriately attached to the palette making it more difficult for you to pick it up, Publix doesn’t appear to have been negligent.

Since you notified the store clerk when the injury occurred, it is likely they filled out an incident report. Once that was filed, the report surely made its way through the chain of command and ultimately found itself on the desk of a Publix representative assigned to investigate the claim of injury.

The Publix claims adjuster may be following up to verify there were no circumstances where Publix was negligent. You may be surprised when the Publix claims adjuster does not offer you any form of compensation.

You need to speak with the adjuster and tell the truth about the circumstances. Once the adjuster has this information, they will make a decision as to whether Publix is going to offer you any form of compensation. If you are not comfortable with that result, speak with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations.

Learn more here: Premises Liability Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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