You stopped by the local store to buy groceries and walked right into a patch of cooking oil somebody spilled on the floor. You ended up breaking your hip in the fall.
You feel like the owner or management of the property should be responsible for your lost wages, medical bills and other losses — but are they? Here are some of the things that must be considered:
Did the property owner know about the problem that led to your fall?
If the property owner (or their agent, like an employee) either knew or should have known about the danger, then they had a duty to take precautions on behalf of their guests’ safety or make necessary repairs.
Maybe, for example, it was a store employee that broke the bottle of oil that led to your fall. Since they caused the danger, they had both notice of the hazard and the duty to fix it. However, the spill may have been caused by another shopper and happened just a minute before you turned down the aisle. In a situation like that, the store owner may not be liable for your fall since they couldn’t have known about nor fixed the spill that quickly.
Were your actions reasonable under the circumstances?
Everybody, regardless of where they may be, has certain obligations to be conscious of their surroundings and avoid obvious hazards and unnecessary risks. Did you follow that rule before you fell?
Maybe, for example, you saw the oil spill — and the sign the employee put up to block the area and warn people away — but the one item you needed the most was on the shelf by the spill. You took a chance, and reached for it, disregarding your proximity to danger. Then, the store owner probably isn’t liable for your fall because you chose to ignore the danger.
When you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, it can be very confusing to try to figure out your rights. Experienced legal guidance can help.