Public Slip and Fall Basics

Public Slip and Fall Basics

We’ve all seen it: a spilled gallon of milk or splattered ketchup jar in the middle of a grocery store aisle and not a warning sign in sight. If you’re like most people, you probably wonder what would happen if someone happened to fall and suffer an injury in the store.

Businesses Have a Duty to Use Ordinary Care

In general, businesses have an obligation to use the same amount of care as an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent individual would use in a similar situation. Courts don’t expect businesses to be omnipresent and aware of every instance of a spill or dangerous condition. But what is the store’s legal obligation if someone falls and gets hurt? As it turns out, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The answer also demonstrates why you need a good lawyer if this happens to you.

Case Example: Sammon v. Target

For example, in Sammon v. Target, a case out of the Middle District of Florida, a woman slipped and fell in some water in the middle of a Florida Target store. Although her clothes and hands were apparently wet after her fall – thereby demonstrating that the floor was indeed wet, according to her version of the facts – the court granted Target’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the woman didn’t prove that Target knew or should have known about the water on the floor.

In Sammon, the court ruled in Target’s favor because an injured party in a slip-and fall case must prove two things:

  • The owner owed the injured party a duty, and
  • The owner breached that duty

According to the court, because the woman couldn’t prove that Target knew or should have known about the water, it didn’t breach its duty. It’s worth noting that Target’s evidence showed that the checkout line where the woman fell was clear and revealed no track marks that would indicate the presence of liquid.

The Importance of a Good Personal Injury Attorney

The Sammon case demonstrates the intricacy and nuance of personal injury cases. Although they might appear quite straightforward on the surface, they are really very complex. Without a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you could easily lose your case on a summary judgment motion, just as the plaintiff in Sammon v. Target. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall case, the attorneys at Emerson Straw, PL can help. Contact our offices in St. Petersburg at 727-821-1500 or St. Augustine at 904-758-3324 today to speak to an attorney about your case.