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purple5me4

Insulin pump damaged by grocery cart

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I am not sure which forum is correct for my question. the grocery store has a hidden policy regarding their shopping carts. If the cart does not go through the check out line and it approaches the door to leave the wheels lock.  There is no warning near the doors or on the carts. I slammed into the cart handle. My insulin pump was clipped to my bra.  It cracked my pump in two places.  I got the use of a loaner pump from the company. I filed a complaint with the store. A third part admin company contacted me. the adjuster wanted my insurance info. I declined to provide that info.  Why should my health insurance pay when the liability is on the store?  I will have to buy a new pump. the grocery store should pay for it. 

 

Am I wrong in my thinking?  The store manager told me about the wheels locking on the carts. My husband and I shop together. We get 2 carts and each take half the store. We meet at the front and put all the groceries in one cart. I was taking the extra cart back outside to the cart area when the wheels locked.

 

I want to talk to a lawyer. I don't know what kind of lawyer would talk to me about this.  It's not personal injury but it is damage to my property. A brand new insulin pump, without insurance would cost over $4,000.00. 

 

Any advice would be appreciated.  Thank you.

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In order to win the lawsuit, you must prove that the store was negligent in some way. You might be able to make the case that the store was negligent in not providing some kind of warning about the carts locking up if you try to take them outside a certain area. The exact details of what the store does matters, as well as your particular state’s tort law.

 

You may sue in small claims court without a lawyer if you want, assuming you are willing to accept the maximum limit of $3,500 that apparently applies to Arizona small claims court cases. Otherwise, you sue in a regular court and you likely need a lawyer to succeed in doing that as the rules are more complex and if you screw up on procedure that alone might kill your case. Moreover, the store will be represented by lawyer, and that will put you at a distinct disadvantage if you are going to represent yourself.

 

Or you could have your insurance company pay for it (which is why you have insurance, right?) and let the insurance company decide if it wants to go after the store. 

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purple5me4, on 18 Oct 2015 - 11:41 PM, said:

 A third part admin company contacted me. the adjuster wanted my insurance info. I declined to provide that info. 

 

So? What happened after that? Was your claim denied? Something else?

 

purple5me4, on 18 Oct 2015 - 11:41 PM, said:

Why should my health insurance pay when the liability is on the store? 

 

At the moment it's not clear whether the store has any liability.

 

There have been successful lawsuits regarding defective products but I'm not sure I see a defect here. As for the lack of a warning label being negligence, it's going to take an attorney to research case decisions to see how that goes.

 

purple5me4, on 18 Oct 2015 - 11:41 PM, said:

 

I want to talk to a lawyer. I don't know what kind of lawyer would talk to me about this.  It's not personal injury but it is damage to my property.

 

A personal injury attorney can handle it easily, as could any other business type attorney. However, since there is no injury and the claim is small, you will have to pay attorney fees which you may not get back even if you win.

 

Arizona small claims courts do not allow attorneys to represent the parties unless both parties agree to it. Obviously not a good idea for you to agree to it.

 

Small claims court is cheap and informal so if you're willing to sue for only $3500, it's worth a shot.

 

The court websites have forms and instructions.

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I generally agree with both prior responses and would add that I doubt the store did anything negligent.  The wheel locking mechanism you described is a perfectly reasonable anti-shoplifting measure.  Moreover, I would argue (and I think there's at least a good chance that I could do so successfully) that someone might be walking with a cart toward the door at such a rate of speed that the wheel locking mechanism caused the person to slam into the cart handle with such force that it would cause an item of personal property to be damaged is not reasonably foreseeable.

 

I also think your unwillingness to provide your medical insurance info is unreasonable.  Just because you provide the information doesn't mean your insurer will pay, and there's no good reason not to provide it.

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pg1067, on 19 Oct 2015 - 08:25 AM, said:pg1067, on 19 Oct 2015 - 08:25 AM, said:

IMoreover, I would argue (and I think there's at least a good chance that I could do so successfully) that someone might be walking with a cart toward the door at such a rate of speed that the wheel locking mechanism caused the person to slam into the cart handle with such force that it would cause an item of personal property to be damaged is not reasonably foreseeable.

 

 

If not reasonably foreseeable there's no need to warn.

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The wheel locking mechanism you described is a perfectly reasonable anti-shoplifting measure.

 

The grocery store near me used the locking cart mechanism for awhile. The reason they did it wasn’t shoplifting exactly, but rather because the carts themselves would be taken, either stolen or simply used to cart the groceries home and then left on the street. The store spent a lot of money recovering the abandoned carts. It gave up on the locking cart mechanism after awhile because many customers didn’t like them, the mechanism wasn't as reliable as it should be and made the carts troublesome to use. In the case of this store, though, they did at least warn customers on the carts themselves about the locking mechanism and had clearly painted lines on the store property indicating where the lock-up of the wheel was to occur.

 

It would be interesting to see if a court would have found the store liable in a case like this had it not provided the warning. The fact that some stores do warn of this suggests that the risk of some kind of injury from the cart was foreseeable and hence the reason for the warning. If a lot of stores using this kind of mechanism do warn customers, that would make it harder for this store to successfully argue that it didn’t need to do it.

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