A person may qualify for a personal injury claim against a business if they slip and fall within the business’s premises. Size does not matter; it may be a local shop or a big chain store such as Target, Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons, or Kroger; any business that invites the public to its premises has an obligation to take necessary steps to ensure customers are protected. As such, if a customer gets injured in a slip and fall accident at a business, they may have a valid case against that business. However, the process of filing a personal injury claim against a store or business is not easy. This is why it is important to seek the services of a professional slip and fall injury attorney. In this article, we will look at slip and fall cases against some popular retail stores and the issues to consider.
Duty of Care
All store owners have a duty of care to uphold. This includes maintaining a safe premises, using proper signage, warning the customer of any potential damage, and so on. As such, all businesses that open their door to the public are legally obligated to maintain a reasonably safe premises to protect all customers. Therefore, whenever a person is injured in a slip and fall accident in any business, they may qualify for a personal injury compensation claim.
However, for a person to qualify for compensation, the injuries sustained must have come from the accident, not any other situation. There are many situations that can cause someone to slip and fall in a store. A customer may slip and fall due to an accumulation of ice or snow at the entrance. A customer may trip over a frayed floor mat or even items placed incorrectly, resulting in a painful fall.
Another example involves poor lighting, poor visibility, spills, etc., the possibilities are endless. A store’s legal responsibility often will depend on whether they had reasonable notice of unsafe conditions or a chance to fix the potential problem.
Notable Cases Involving Slip and Fall Injuries
To understand the different issues that can arise, below are a few examples of real slip and fall cases involving customers injured while visiting some of the most popular retail stores.
Hartner vs. Home Depot
In the Hartner vs. Home Depot case, a manhole cover was covered by water when a shopping cart hit it, and the woman pushing the cart ended up injuring her knees. In the case, Home Depot argued that the petitioner was at-fault because the danger was open and obvious. However, in the end, Home Depot was found to be 95% at-fault for the accident by a Pennsylvania jury. The damage compensation was determined to be $1 million. Therefore, Home Depot was ordered to pay $950,000 for the injuries.
Costco and the ‘Pot Sticker’ Case
In California, a woman filed for a personal injury claim against a Costco store after she injured her tailbone slipping on food that fell on the floor. The store’s employees were offering free food samples close by. The woman claimed that Costco employees should have inspected the floor around the area since customers walked around the food sampling area. In this case, the jury agreed with Costco, since they established that hourly inspections of the floor were enough.
Costco Employee Negligence Case
A man shattered his kneecap in a Costco Store after slipping on a puddle of liquid soap. In this case, the California jury agreed with the plaintiff. According to the man, several Costco employees had already passed around the area and seen the spill; but chose to ignore it. In the end, Costco was ordered to pay $400,000 for medical treatment and pain and suffering.
Sued In New York, Injured in Florida
A woman from New York slipped on a spilled drink and sustained serious back injuries in a Florida Costco store. She filed a lawsuit against Costco in the state of New York. Costco tried to move the case back to Florida, where the incident occurred, but the New York judge denied the motion, and the case was allowed to continue in New York. This ruling became popular because it saved the accuser from the ordeal of constantly traveling while injured. Costco was ordered to bear the burden of trying to move the case to another state.
Home Depot’s “Deleted Evidence” Case
A woman sued Home Depot after slipping on unknown substances in one of their stores in Pennsylvania. When Home Depot was ordered to produce that day’s video surveillance, they claimed that the relevant part of the day’s video had been deleted. Regardless of the lack of video evidence, the court sided with the plaintiff and ordered Home Depot to pay $44,383.61 for the damages.
Lowes Employee Forklift Accident
A customer was severely injured while standing in the Checkout line while at Lowe’s Home and Garden Center in West Melbourne, Florida. The accident involved an employee who was driving a forklift that ran into the customer from behind. The customer suffered serious orthopedic injuries and, in the long run, received $600,000 as compensation.
Lanier vs. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
This is a Kentucky-based case that triggered an important shift in how slip and fall cases are handled. The courts mentioned that if a complainant can prove he or she has sustained injuries due to foreign substances on the floor and can be proven, then compensation claims may arise against a business for not keeping its store in a reasonably safe condition. As such, it will become a store’s responsibility to prove that it took all necessary care to maintain its premises.
The court in the Lanier vs. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. case recognized the way retail giants such as Wal-Mart lends itself to accidents such as customer falls because of their operating method of self-shopping services. The courts also mentioned that photos of the place where the victim fell must be taken to support the claims – where the arrangement is in a way that draws customer’s attention away from the floor, creating a hazardous environment.
A man who slipped on unknown liquid at Walgreen in Broadview, Illinois, was unable to prove the source of the liquid. The store claimed the liquid was as a result of the man walking in the snow, while the man claimed the liquid was already on the floor. In this case, the man lost the case and the following appeals.
Get in Touch With a Skilled Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
There is no doubt that people get injured in slip and fall accidents. A majority of the time, the injuries tend to be minor. However, there are instances where the injuries can be severe. It does not matter if you slip on a wet floor, rough patch, or stairs; you may be entitled to receive compensation if the area was not well maintained.
If you are not sure if you have a valid personal injury claim against a store for a slip and fall accident, contact Nettles Morris today. Our personal injury law firm in Nevada will look at your case and see if it is worth pursuing.