Retail Stores Need to Keep Floors Safe Says Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer

view of grocery store hair and body care aisle from shopping cart
July 10, 2017
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

Store management has a duty to find and make dangerous conditions such as wet floors safe for customers says Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer Rand Spear.

If you’re a customer of a retail store or work for a contractor performing work at one store management has an obligation to keep you safe. Stores often have a lot of floor space and slips and fall accidents are not uncommon. Sometimes, Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyer Rand Spear says, injuries caused by such a fall are serious.

An Allegheny County jury took a plaintiff injured due to a slip and fall on a Target floor seriously. It awarded $2.1 million in damages to Melissa Horton in March. She tore her hamstring after slipping on a wet floor, reports the Legal Intelligencer. It took the jury a day to decide after sitting through a three and a half day trial. The award included $1.4 million for past noneconomic damages and $700,000 for future noneconomic damages.

Horton states she suffered her injury after slipping and falling on a recently mopped floor in an Allegheny County Target in December 2013. When she entered the store a soda bottle fell off a shelf, spilling on the store’s main aisle. Employees mopped the area and placed warning cones around the spill. Horton claimed Target employees “carelessly” mopped the floor far outside the area where the cones were placed.

Horton said she walked cautiously around the spill area but once outside it she slipped, causing her to drop into a split. She ripped her right hamstring out of her hip socket, had surgery and spent a period of time in a body brace that immobilized her right leg. Target’s attorneys claimed Horton injured herself after she failed to heed clear warnings about the wet floor.

This type of case would normally be based on negligence law. The plaintiff, or injured victim would have the burden of proving that,

  • The store owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
  • The store breached that duty of care,
  • The breach caused the accident and resulting injuries, and
  • Damages resulted.

Under Pennsylvania law a retail customer is considered an “invitee” (or one entering a property after an express or implied invitation of the property owner). Liability would be based on establishing that the physical harm to the invitee was caused by a condition of the property and that store management,

  • Knew or by using reasonable care would discover the condition,
  • Should’ve understood it involved an unreasonable risk to invitees,
  • Should’ve expected invitees wouldn’t discover or realize the danger, or they will fail to protect themselves against it, and
  • Failed to use reasonable care to protect invitees against the danger.

Invitees are owed a duty of ordinary care and maintenance of the property which may include a duty to regularly inspect the property to find dangerous conditions.

If you or a loved one were injured after a slip and fall at a retail store, don’t wait to speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case. Protect your rights, contact us on the web or call Philadelphia and New Jersey slip and fall lawyer Rand Spear today at 877-GET-RAND.