Slip & Fall Accidents/Premises Liability
Oftentimes, a slip and fall may not seem that bad. Anxious to finish shopping, get home to cook dinner, or the adrenaline from the injury itself may mask the pain of impact. While we all have places to be, continuing to put pressure on an injury may exacerbate the tissue swelling or shattered bone. If you are injured on someone else’s property, they may be liable if the court decides they failed to maintain the grounds.
There are a variety of ways an owner may be negligent in maintaining their property. In the winter, after the snow has abated, not shoveling the walkway. Or, if there is a known drain leakage onto the sideway – if the owner is aware, or should have taken the reasonable steps to be aware, they may be found liable for your injury. Many grocery stores have faced suits where customers have slipped on dropped fruit, or water not properly cleaned from mopping. These incidents are so pervasive that some grocery stores have purchased notice robots. You may have seen them at the store yourself. They traverse the aisles, particularly the produce area, and scan the floor for fallen items. If an anomaly is detected, alarms go off and the machine sends alerts for staff to come and clean the offending spot. Tortious behavior may be limited with such modernization, but we are still a long way from ending slip and fall accidents.
In slip and fall cases, just having an injury is not enough to prove liability. The owner must have had notice of the potential for injury and a reasonable time to correct the danger. The notice robots do just that – they scan the grocery floor for inappropriate items, then call for assistance to clean up. If an item has fallen only a moment prior, the owner would not have had adequate notice to take action and clean the floor. Often, this is the defense theory used by store owners. They do not claim the incident did not occur, but rather that if it did, there was no notice and opportunity to correct it. They insist the injury is a fluke and not preventable, and therefore should not be liable.
If you have fallen on someone else’s property due to no fault of your own, there are steps you need to take. First, have someone call a manager or store owner. Make sure 911 is called to document the injury and to create a medical record of the injury. Take pictures of the location that the fall occurred, including the offending spot that caused the accident. Your attorney will use all of this information to build your case for compensation. You should not be liable for someone else’s irresponsibility. Property owners have duties to provide regulated standards of care and to keep their floors safe for all who visit.