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New Case, Old Question: Who Is Liable For A Fall In A Grocery Store?

Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall cases can lead to serious injury. Victims of these accidents must gather evidence to hold the owner of the establishment responsible for the costs of the injuries.

Take a step back: How does a victim build a slip-and-fall case?

Slip-and-fall cases fall into an area of law referred to as premises liability. Essentially, victims of slip-and-fall accidents can use this area of law to hold property owners responsible when their property results in the injury of another. When it comes to slip-and-fall cases, the injured party must generally establish one of three elements: the owner created the condition, knew about the condition and failed to fix it or that the condition that led to the injury was around for a period of time that made it reasonable for the owner to know and correct the problem before it resulted in injury.

Legal definitions in the real world: An example.

A woman recently attempted to hold a grocery store liable for the costs resulting from injuries sustained when she slipped due to a puddle in front of an ice machine at a grocery store. The grocery store provided evidence to dispute the allegation. This evidence included footage of the area where she fell showing that the employees conducted regular inspections every 60 minutes.

Approximately five minutes before the woman walked down the aisle, the security cameras have footage of two customers spilling ice onto the floor. The customer then walks down the aisle and slips in the resulting puddle. The court ultimately concluded that it was not reasonable to expect the store to become aware of the puddle within that time period.

This case provides a valuable lesson to victims of slip-and-fall accidents. A ruling in the victim’s favor is not guaranteed even when the injury is clearly the result of a dangerous condition within the store. As such, victims must review all possible avenues for liability to better ensure a successful case.

It is also important that victims realize these cases are often subject to time limits set by state law. Also, store owners may work to fix the problem that led to the accident before evidence can be gathered to support your claim. Thus, whether injured due to a fall within a store, a trip over unkept walkways towards the store or a slip on ice, it is wise to seek legal counsel experienced in slip-and-fall accidents to better ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled.