In a recent Federal court decision, the court granted a store summary judgment on a plaintiff’s slip and fall claim. A woman and her husband were shopping at the store when she slipped and fell in a pool of water created by melted snow from a cart left in the aisle. The store asked the court to dismiss the case prior to trial, arguing that there was no evidence that the store or its employee had actual knowledge of the melted snow in the aisle. The court agreed.
The court further found that there was insufficient evidence to charge the store with constructive knowledge of the hazard. The woman did not see any water on the floor before she fell. Neither she nor her husband could show how the cart came to be in the aisle, how long it was there, or how long the puddle had been there. She also could not show that there were any employees in that area of the store who would have been aware of the puddle. Thus, she could not argue that the store should have known of the water.
Finally, there was no evidence that the store and its employees had failed to comply with its safety guidelines for discovering and correcting hazards.
The law has always required that a property owner have a reasonable period of time to discover a dangerous condition and to resolve that condition. It is not automatically liable just because the accident has occurred. Competent attorneys know how to investigate such cases and to compile evidence of a store’s negligence in slip and fall cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.