Last week, we began discussing slip and fall accidents in retail settings, which can be caused by everything from wet floors and invisible shifts in footing to inadequate lighting and improperly placed displays.
Specifically, we started exploring how those plaintiffs bringing slip and fall cases must demonstrate that their injuries were caused by a dangerous condition and that the store owner knew about this condition. In today’s post, we’ll continue this important discussion.
Does the concept of foreseeability factor into the legal analysis in slip and fall cases?
Yes. A plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that it would have been foreseeable to the store owner that their negligence would result in the creation of a dangerous condition.
What are some examples of situations in which it could reasonably be argued that the store owner created and knew about the existence of a dangerous condition?
Consider an accident in which the plaintiff suffered head injuries after slipping and falling on a wet spot on the tile floor of a small shop owned and operated by the defendant.
Here, it could be argued that the defendant created and knew about the dangerous condition — the wet floor — if he partially spilled a bucket of water while en route to the back of store, but simply choose to ignore it despite watching it splash over the side.
Similarly, if the defendant did mop up the mess, but neglected to put out the necessary signs warning of a wet floor, it could also be argued that he created and knew about the dangerous condition.
Finally, it could be argued that the defendant created and knew about the condition if another employee actually spilled the water on the floor, and that the defendant or another employee never conducted a routine inspection of the premises, which would have alerted them to its presence.
What’s the most common of these examples?
Somewhat surprisingly, the third scenario — the store owner should have known about the dangerous condition and taken remedial measures as a result of a routine inspection — is the most common type to arise in slip and fall cases.
However, experts indicate that this is actually the most challenging type of case, as it requires a sort of common sense determination as to whether the store owner’s actions were reasonable. In other words, a determination as to what a reasonable store owner in similar circumstances would have done as it relates to inspections or routine maintenance.
If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries in a retail setting that you believe can be attributed to the negligence of a store owner, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and your options.