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Stores May Be Liable for a Customer’s Slip and Fall Accident

warning yellow plastic sign, caution wet floorPicture this: You walk into your favorite store to browse and maybe purchase something that catches your eye. You are walking down your favorite home-goods aisle and before you know it, you are lying on your back. You feel a sharp pain in your wrist that does not subside. You have slipped on a wet patch of flooring, fallen and broken your wrist. Now what?

Any business that welcomes the general public onto their premises has a duty to keep their visitors reasonably safe. Whether it is a big box store or a local small business, you have the expectation that you will walk out of the store as healthy as you were when you walked in. When a customer is involved in a slip and fall incident inside the store, they may have the legal grounds necessary to file a claim against the business provided key issues are met or proven.

Reasonable Duty on Behalf of the Business

A business owner, and the business’s employees, possess a duty to keep the premises safe. For an employee, this may mean alerting a manager to potential hazards. For a manager, this may mean eliminating hazards as quickly as possible.

Reasonable Duty on Behalf of the Customer

As a customer, you have the reasonable duty to behave appropriately in a store. That is, if you are injured because you decide to climb a shelving unit to reach an item despite warning signs, you may not be compensated for those injuries. If your actions caused your accident, even partially, your award may be reduced or eliminated altogether.

Let’s look at two real examples from retail giant Costco:

1. Soap Spill, 2012

In 2012, a woman slipped and fell on a puddle of soap in an aisle of Costco. The plaintiff was able to prove that several employees had walked by the spill, doing nothing to clean it. The woman suffered a shattered kneecap, and Costco was ordered to pay over $400,000 to the victim. Costco employees were found to be negligent in ensuring the aisles of the store were free of hazards.

2. Food Spill, 2011

A woman fell on a piece of spilled food at Costco. She injured her tailbone. Because employees were passing out free food samples nearby, the woman argued that they were not adequately inspecting the floors as they should have been doing. A jury sided with the store. They said that the hourly floor inspections were adequate and that employees were not shirking their duties.

Each slip and fall case is unique, and a store may or may not be held liable for a person’s injuries. Anyone who has been injured while walking through a store or business should contact a personal injury attorney to determine whether or not they may have a case.

If you have been injured in this type of accident in Charlotte, call an experienced attorney at Auger & Auger Law. We will review the details of your accident and help you determine if you have a case for compensation. Contact us today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we have successfully handled.

Posted In: Slip & Fall

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