Duty To Maintain Safe Premises
Like any other business that opens themselves up to the public, stores are legally obligated to maintain reasonably safe premises for the protection of their customers. When a slip and fall accident happens at a grocery store, department store, or even a local “mom and pop” shops, the business may be liable for your injuries if it can be proven that the slip and fall occurred due to unsafe conditions on the property. Whether the store is responsible for your slip and fall injuries often depends on the specific facts of the particular accident in question.
Common In-Store Slip And Fall Accidents
Slip and falls in a store can happen for a variety of reasons. A customer might fall on an accumulation of ice or snow in the entry way of the store or may trip over an errant floor mat. Display items that might be haphazardly placed and can fall in the pathway of a customer. The grocery store may have poor lightening that lead to poor visibility or a customer may have spilled something and left a puddle. In all honesty, there are several factors that could have led to your accident.
To better understand a few of the issues that come up, here is a few examples of notable cases.
Costco Employee Negligence – In 2012, a jury in California sided with the plaintiff who had shattered her kneecap in a Costco store after slipping on a puddle of soap. According to the injured woman, several Costco employees already had passed by and ignored the spill. In the end, Costco was ordered to pay more than $400,000 for woman’s medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
Walgreen Wins – In 2004, a man who slipped on some liquid at a Walgreens in Illinois was unable to demonstrate the source of the liquid in question. The store claim the liquid was the result of the man’s walking in snow before coming into the store. However, the man continued to claim that the liquid was on the floor before their arrival. This man lost his case and the subsequent appeal due to lack of evidence.
Holding The Store Liable For Your Injuries
A store may be legally responsible for unsafe conditions under several different theories. For example, if the store used exceptionally slippery wax to clean the floor and it led to your accident, it could be grounds for a slip and fall claim.
The owner of the store may also be liable if they knew of the condition, even if they did not create it, but failed to resolve the problem. For example, in the “Costco Employee Negligence” case, the employees did not create the puddle of soap that the plaintiff slipped on. However, it was stated that several Costco employees were aware of the spill and did nothing to fix the situation that would lead to her slip and fall accident. However, in order the prove this, the plaintiff would have needed to prove that the store or the employees knew about the spill and made no efforts to fix it.
Additionally, the injured customer would need to prove that the condition was not obvious enough for them to avoid it. Again, the woman in the “Costco” case would need to show that the spill could not have been easily seen. Otherwise, this could seem like the plaintiff purposely fell in order to file a claim against the store.