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Slip and Fall in a Grocery Store – Notice Issues

The number of personal injury victims involved in slip and fall injuries in grocery stores is remarkable. In fact, due to various conditions that can cause slip and falls which are found in grocery stores, the chances of being injured on these types of properties are far greater than other commercial establishments. When people hear the term “slip and fall,” they typically only think of a spilled gallon of milk or soda or some sort of other beverage. However, grocery stores carry many more items that people don’t normally associate with slip and fall accidents. Here are only a few examples of items that can be just as dangerous (if not more so) as spilled beverages: melted butter, a broken container of car wax, blood from a leaking package of meat, melted ice, cleaning supplies, cooking oils and urine (yes, both animal and human). The purpose of identifying all types of conditions that can cause injury is to remind the reader that those in control of the premises have an affirmative duty to inspect, clean up and/or repair all dangerous conditions, not just the most obvious ones. An employee must not be trained solely to identify liquids on the floor, but rather must actively search for all possible conditions which may result in a slip and fall accident. California case law is very clear on this subject. As a reminder, to impose liability on the store, the personal injury victim must prove that the store had actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition (I.e., had the store conducted reasonable inspections, they would have discovered the dangerous condition) and failed to correct the condition before the victim was injured. See California Civil Jury Instruction 1003: Unsafe Conditions. In the case of Swanberg vs. O’Mectin (1984) the court held that “Although liability might easily be found where the landowner has actual knowledge of the dangerous condition, ‘[the] landowner’s lack of knowledge of the dangerous condition is not a defense. He has an affirmative duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and therefore must inspect them or take other proper means to ascertain their condition. And if, by the exercise of reasonable care, he would have discovered the dangerous condition, he is liable.’” Contact our slip and fall lawyer for a consultation if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident. For additional information on premises liability issues, see Slip and Fall/Trip and Fall Premises Liability Factors and Non-Delegable Duty of Landlord/Property Owner.

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