Insurance 101 says your auto insurance will not cover a gas station mini-market accident claim in most cases. In this article, we will attempt to explain the steps to take so you can preserve your rights against the premises liability insurance of the service station itself.
We looked at this gas station accident attorney’s page from Ehline Law Firm in Los Angeles County, USA, and their lead counsel, Michael Ehline, offered some tips to assist store management as well as victims in running a tight ship to avoid insurance claims altogether.
First of all, going to your local gas station or convenience store is often a staple of most people’s day, month, or week unless they drive a Tesla. Even then, you might go to convenience stores like 7-11 to get a quick bite to eat, or you need something important at night; gas stations (AM/PM Mini Marts, etc.) are the only thing open then.
But what could otherwise be a simple visit to a local gas station could become dangerous if you slip and fall.
A fall injury can be tough to deal with, especially if you are a little older. And if you happen to fall due to the gas station owner’s negligence, you can get in touch with a lawyer and look to file premises liability claims against the convenience store. Besides your pain and suffering and medical bills, you can expect lost wages in the majority of bad cases.
Here is a more in-depth guide to help you understand everything you should do after a fall accident and serious injuries. Let’s get into the minutia of premises liability claims at a gas station.
Table of Contents
- The Types of Injuries that You Can Encounter at Convenience Stores
- What if It’s Someone Else’s Fault Besides Gas Stations?
- What You Should Do In The Event Of A Gas Station Accident?
- Final Thought
The Types of Injuries that You Can Encounter at Convenience Stores
Convenience stores can be a host to several types of injuries that you can sustain through several means. Only by first understanding the type of injuries you can get when you go down to your local gas pumps will you be able to file a case against the gas station owners to pay for the damages you have encountered. Typically, if someone is run over by a car outside, auto insurance comes in to cover the injured or killed victims.
Liquids like beer or alcohol could also be present. If the store makes reasonable inspections, they will clean it or cordon off the danger zone. But there are exceptions no matter how informed the store is of a problem. If someone slips on some spilled oil or lubricant, the convenience store will tender a claim to their commercial structure insurer to cover the claim.
What if It’s Someone Else’s Fault Besides Gas Stations?
Even though there are several gas station accidents that can occur, not all of them are the fault of convenience store owners. It could be the gas station employees’ fault, or it could even be a third party who does not belong to the establishment.
In most cases, the insurance policy will cover the negligence of the store or its own employee. However, a third party’s carelessness will often not be covered.
So, for example, if a person spilled fluids before the store owner knew, and you slipped and fell, the person who failed to warn you or clean up the mess might be on the hook. They would be forced to seek protection under their homeowner’s policy or another policy they carry for these types of cases. I have prepared a list of items to give you a better understanding.
Here is a list of gas station accidents that could occur:
Gas Station Slip and fall accident
One of the most common causes of accidents in a gas station is a slip and fall, where an individual slip and falls at the store due to spilling fluids like oil or water on the floor. If the gas station owner does not clean it in time, the one could likely slip, and they will be liable for damages under their store insurance.
Besides vapor inhalation scorching of the lungs, there is also the risk of a customer suffering from severe burns due to poorly designed or maintained nozzles. Even hot coffee inside the store or spilled liquids on the floor, not just near vehicles, are known hazards. But the most severe is when a customer tries to fill up at the pump, and that act sets off a diesel or gas leak that can get ignited.
The store needs to provide a safe environment, institute safety policies, and act quickly to prevent these problems with regular inspections. This includes a physical inspection of the pump handle without a long period of delay.
Given that these gas stations and convenience stores are upon throughout the night, there is also the issue that all sorts of violent crime can occur. Even though the clerks can be completely safe while in their bulletproof counters, the customers will likely have to fend off the criminals by themselves, putting them in grave danger. Insurers don’t like to cover these events, so make sure, as a store owner, you take steps to keep patrons safe.
What You Should Do In The Event Of A Gas Station Accident?
A gas station accident can be fairly dangerous, as it can lead to serious injuries in some cases. So if you happen to be at the receiving end of one of these accidents, here is a list of a few things you should do following the accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
The first thing that you should do following an accident is to get medical treatment for the injuries that you have sustained. Even if it is a minor scrape or cut, it could become infected, leading to further complications. And if it is a significant injury like broken bones or fractures, you want to ensure that you first get medical attention. The insurance company will need this information to process your convenience store claim.
The next step you want to take is to make sure you take pictures and videos of the scene following your gas station accident. More specifically, you want to take pictures to show what the scene looked like when you fell (Do photos show snow, poor lighting, a fuel spill, a soap or soda pop spill in the aisle?).
This is one of the best ways to get a lawyer interested in forming an attorney-client relationship. Secure this evidence as it can make the difference when submitting a claim.
Get Names and Information of all Witnesses
After you can gather the relevant information that can help you prove what the location was like when you fell, you want to gather contact information from the witnesses. You want the witness’s phone number, name, and other contact information they have to offer. The other witnesses can also be other customers. Either way, these people are vital for any future premises liability lawsuit you may have to file.
Find the Security Cameras
The next step you want to take is to find the security camera in the store and talk to the store manager. If there are security cameras throughout the premises, then you want to make sure that they are safe from being printed over or possibly even erased. Have your personal injury lawyer send a “demand for preservation of evidence letter,” so videos of things like fall accidents or a lone car accident get erased surreptitiously.
Images can show whether warning signs for things like cracked or uneven pavement, including slippery surfaces, were present. It also makes sure your personal injury lawyers can inspect things before they are thrown out or repaired by the insurance company.
“Orange County insurance companies tend to get things repaired faster than in Los Angeles.” “So make sure you get the tape from those surveillance cameras, or you risk getting covered for things like medical care and the attendant medical expenses”, says California personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline.
Record any Clean-Up Efforts From the Store
As noted, along with recording what the gas station was like when you fell, you also want to get a good video of their clean-up efforts. If they clean up the scene, then it is very likely that they will completely fix what caused the fall injuries in the first place. Hiring an aggressive law office can definitely help increase the insurance settlement after suffering a serious injury or sexual assaults.
Talk to the Store Manager and Make an Incident Report
In most cases, the store manager is also the property owner, which means you will be telling them about the lawsuit you will be filing. You can also tell them about all the information you need from them. You don’t need formal legal advice to get an incident report.
But you should try and snap a picture of it with your cell phone camera if the manager refuses to give a copy to the insured claimant. You definitely need to get the working phone numbers of the people in charge for later communications.
Gas stations and convenience stores mainly use cameras to warn and prevent shoplifting by vagrants and other scofflaws. Pumping stations are notorious for losing the reports and erasing the video, says Ehline. So to protect customers, customers must be educated about obtaining and preserving sensitive information about potential dangers or even smoking gun evidence.
This is the best way to receive maximum compensation from insurance for a dangerous condition causing an injury. What if you were rear-ended by a car that slipped on spilled oil mixed with trash debris? Who pays when you miss work and incur expenses under these circumstances?
Calculate the Damage
The next step you want to take is to calculate the total damage you have endured as a result of your accident. The accident report should include the case’s medical bills, lost wages, the hospital ride, and attorney fees. Everything recovered must be provable in court against the store manager for letting you get hurt.
Any breach of reasonable duty of care that led to your injury claim must be foreseeable, certain, and unavoidable. If so, insurance is at risk of paying the claim.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Lawyer
Finally, you want to get in touch with an experienced attorney who can help you. That way, you get the representation and insurance coverage protection you deserve for these risks you were forced to face. Before giving any statements to the insurance company for the defendant, get in touch with a doctor and a lawyer.
Whether you fell on the ground or were physically assaulted in the restrooms, the best way to get money for your troubles is with a great lawyer to assess and take direct action.
A gas station and convenience store accident to you or a family member is not out of the question. If it was a store employee, they might have a claim against their employer and a third party as well. To recover damages if you fell on a slippery surface or were assaulted, you must find a go-to attorney firm dedicated to helping all its clients.
If the case was in San Francisco, find a highly qualified local attorney, even if their main office is somewhere else. This will help level the playing field with the insurance company for sure.
Most in California offer a free consultation. Even if the injury claim might not sound as severe to you, the truth is that it could affect your relationships and lead to lost wages at your job. If you cannot get insurance to accept fault and damages, your insurance claim is not worth the paper it’s written on.
Insurance 101 says you don’t have to worry about a gas station accident doing too much damage to you in most cases. But you must also be intelligent that dangers beyond your control can occur.
If so, the above information will help you improve your chances of receiving fair compensation from the insurance company as part of a personal injury claim with help from liability lawyers. The lawyer comes in when insurance won’t pay, and you will probably need a jury verdict to settle the matter over your legal rights to be compensated.