Who Is Responsible? Navigating Liability Laws for Maryland Grocery Store Injuries

Grocery shopping is a routine errand that most of us take for granted. We don’t expect a regular trip to pick up milk and eggs to result in serious injury. However, thousands of grocery store customers are injured every year in preventable slip and fall accidents. If you’ve been hurt in a Maryland grocery store, you may have questions about liability and legal responsibility. This article provides an overview of injury liability laws in Maryland and how they apply to grocery stores.

Negligence Liability in Premises Injury Cases

Personal injury law in Maryland is based on negligence liability. This means that an injured person must prove the property owner failed to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm. To win a premises liability case against a grocery store, you need evidence that:

  • The store owed you a duty of care as a business invitee
  • The store breached this duty through negligent actions or failure to act
  • You suffered actual injury or loss
  • The store’s negligence directly caused your injury

Grocery stores have a responsibility to keep their premises reasonably safe for customers. This includes having procedures to regularly inspect for hazards, promptly clean up spills, wet floor signage, and adequate lighting in all areas. If a store fails to do these things and you get hurt as a result, you may have a valid injury claim.

Common Grocery Store Hazards

Some of the most common hazards that lead to customer injuries in grocery stores include:

  • Slippery floors– Spilled products, produce debris, and leakage from refrigerated sections can create slippery conditions. Stores must have systems to actively look for and quickly clean up spills.
  • Trip hazards– Items protruding into aisles from shelves or displays, wrinkled floor mats, uneven surfaces, unmarked steps or thresholds, and electrical cords crossing walkways are some of the trip dangers.
  • Falling merchandise– Improperly stacked or unsteady displays that topple over can hit and injure customers. Items left on the floor are also a tripping threat.
  • Cleaning incidents– Inadequate warnings about wet floors, missing cones by spills, and greasy cleaning products left on floors are hazards.
  • Poor lighting– Stores must provide adequate lighting in all areas, especially stairwells, stock rooms, and parking lots. Dark areas lead to trips and falls.

If you slipped on a grape in the produce section or tripped on an empty pallet left in an aisle, the grocery store may be liable for negligence.

Identifying Responsible Parties

In a premises liability claim against a grocery store, there may be multiple potentially negligent parties. Identifying everyone who could share liability is important. Possible defendants include:

The Grocery Store

The grocery store itself has a duty to provide a safe environment. If there were inadequate policies, lack of training, or failure to address known dangers, the company may share liability.

Store Managers

Managers are responsible for enforcing safety protocols, setting up hazard warnings, directing cleanup, and supervising employees. If lax oversight contributed to your accident, consider naming store managers as defendants.


Employees must follow safety rules, quickly clean spills they observe, redirect customers from dangerous areas, and set out wet floor signs when mopping. Employee negligence is often a factor in grocery store injuries.


Many grocery stores hire third-party contractors for services like cleaning, security, and shelving stocked items. If negligent actions by a contractor caused your injury, the contractor and potentially the store may share blame.

Product Manufacturers

If a faulty product, like a leaking milk container, caused a spill that resulted in your slip and fall, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

Identifying all potentially negligent parties ensures you receive full and fair compensation.

Statute of Limitations Deadlines for Injury Lawsuits

Maryland law sets strict deadlines for filing personal injury claims called statutes of limitations. For injury claims against grocery stores and other negligent property owners, you must file either:

  • Within three yearsfrom the date of injury – For typical premises liability claims.
  • Within one yearfrom the date of injury – If suing a municipal grocery store owned by local government.

These deadlines pass quickly when you are focused on medical recovery. To preserve your right to sue, discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.

Get Expert Help with Your Grocery Store Injury Case

Suffering a serious injury in a preventable fall at the grocery store can be devastating. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Monge & Associates are here to help Maryland residents recover damages. If you or a loved one has been hurt by negligence at a grocery store, contact us for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597. We have 32 offices in 19 states, including Maryland, Nebraska, and Utah, and our lawyers are ready to help.