A Personal Injury Lawyer Explains Slip and Fall Accidents Part 3: Slippery Floors-Commercial Premises
In Part 2 of this series “A Personal Injury Lawyer Explains Slip & Fall Accidents,” we talked about slip and fall accidents that occur outside on icy sidewalks. This article will focus on accidents that occur indoors in retail stores and other commercial establishments, although the basic legal concepts discussed in Parts 1 and 2 are the same.
As always, the first step will be to determine who is responsible for the property where the accident occurred. For example, the building could be owner-occupied or rented by a tenant under a written lease agreement (in which case the terms of the lease may affect who is responsible) or divided into private and common areas, as in shopping malls. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help sort this all out and determine which parties are potentially liable.
Knew or Should Have Known
Simply because the floor was slippery does not automatically mean that the owner/occupier was negligent. Dangerously slippery floors can be caused by various substances including water or other liquid, grease, oil, or some other lubricant, floor wax or polish, or a foreign object — such as a squashed grape. In order to prove negligence, it is necessary to show that the owner/occupier “knew or should have known” about the dangerous condition. This will depend on the cause of the slippery condition (e.g., a freshly waxed floor versus milk spilled on the floor of a supermarket) and, in some cases, whether it was obvious enough and/or had existed long enough for the owner/occupier to have become aware of it. Note that, as in the case of icy sidewalks, the extent to which a dangerous condition is apparent and could safely be avoided will affect liability. Your own carelessness is a factor that will be taken into consideration.
Reasonableness is the standard against which everyone’s conduct is measured in a negligence case. Assuming that the owner/occupier knew about the slippery condition, the next question is whether the owner/occupier acted reasonably to fix or provide a warning about it, and whether the steps taken were reasonable under the circumstances. For example: In an office building with marble floors in the lobby, is it reasonable for the owner/occupier to just put up warning signs on rainy days, or should non-slip floor mats have also been used to avoid accidents?
Call Alfred Abel Law Offices for an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured as the result of falling on a slippery floor and think that you might have a legal claim, you should discuss the accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your interests. Contact us to set up a consultation today.