Is the Store Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?
In most cases, when a customer is victim to a slip and fall accident, the store is responsible for the injury. However, this is not always the case. It comes down to who is liable for the injury and if it could have reasonably been avoided. Law tends to favor the customer in most incidents, as many slip and fall accidents are largely avoidable. But what determines if an accident could have been avoided?
For one, if the danger or hazard was known about or should have been known about by the owner or responsible party for the premises, the liability falls on the store. As an example, if someone spills water, the manager should know about it within a reasonable amount of time. If the water spills in an aisle and someone immediately slips on it, there was not enough time for the water to have been noticed or taken care of. However, if water spills in front of an employee or manager and a sign is not placed and it is not cleaned, which leads to someone slipping and falling, the store is liable for the damages that result.
This is because the law finds that when an invitee on the premises is injured, the owner or operator owes the visitor a duty of care, but that duty of care is within reason.
What Makes a Valid Claim
A case can only be considered valid if the following is true:
- A duty of care is owed. In a store, the duty of care owed to customers includes a clean, dry floor, or signage warning of a hazard to help the public avoid those areas.
- There was a breach of that duty. If there were no warning signs or no action was taken to remedy a situation, the duty of care has been breached.
- The breach of duty led to the incident. For example, if the floor was not mopped and someone tried to get something off a high shelf that fell on their head, the two are not related.
- There was damage or injury because of the incident. If you slip and fall but do not suffer any injuries, the store does not owe any type of compensation, as there is nothing to compensate.
If those four criteria are met, the store is responsible for the accident. However, missing an element doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a case. Contact our team today to get legal advice on your slip and fall accident.