Chubb is an industry giant that provides property, casualty, and personal accident insurance. They recently released a study discussing how supermarkets are increasingly offering goods and services that have significant liability concerns beyond their traditional and lengthy history of slip-and-fall premises liability actions. Many are now adding liquor sales, daycare services, on-site pharmacies, and increased truck transportation traffic and fleets. Many of these retailers are reviewing the sufficiency of their excess and umbrella policy coverage, as they brace for tort cases that could result in awards in the millions.
New Supermarket Alcohol Law Brings Liability Concerns
Governor Hickenlooper signed a new law in 2016 allowing standard beer and wine sales at grocers. Prior, they were restricted to sales of the low-alcohol (3.2%) beer products only. This change is believed to be the most significant alcohol-related law change since the Prohibition era. Stores will be challenged to adhere to rigid policies for checking IDs to prevent underage purchases. Many markets that have “café” style seating areas for those buying prepared foods are likely to add beer and wine to their on-site offerings. Those selling alcoholic beverages will need to abide by the Colorado laws prohibiting sales to those who are intoxicated, also known as “dram shop” laws. The state's 12-47-801 statute explains that those selling and serving alcohol are subject to civil liability for service to those under 21 and those who are visibly intoxicated.
Stores have begun offering daycare and play areas for children, which are supervised while the parent(s) shop. This opens potential liability concerns that require diligent employee background screening, toys that cannot be swallowed, and sufficient staff to insure someone is always present.
Slip & Fall Liability
Supermarkets continue to pay costly insurance premiums stemming from slip-and-fall litigation. Recently in CA, a store was absolved in a case because they had documentation indicating hourly inspections (checks) had been conducted. The primary causes are changes in floor elevation, spills on floors, and poor lighting. For cold weather climates, the exterior walkways and parking areas must be free of ice.
Truck Accident Liability
Loading docks for shipping and receiving are best situated away from the primary parking areas. Trucks and delivery vehicles create potentially costly liability in accidents. Many stores have in-house shipping and delivery fleets, requiring solid safety training, insuring drivers are not using mobile devices while driving, and doing thorough driving record checks and drug testing. Onboard cameras and GPS monitoring are other tools for recording accidents and evaluating driving habits.
Contact a Denver Personal Injury Attorney
Incidents of negligence can unfortunately result in life-altering injuries. For many years, The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has held those responsible for injuries in Colorado accountable for their actions. Those who seek aggressive and experienced legal representation should contact the office today to discuss your case.