A grocery store is one of the most common places where residents of Los Angeles get injured in slip and fall accidents. And it is not surprising at all, considering that the vast majority of grocery stores have those polished, slippery floors. Add spilled liquids or food spills, and it immediately becomes a premises liability lawsuit waiting to happen!
Given the unusually high risk of getting injured in a grocery store, the owner of the store or other entities responsible have a legal obligation to maintain the property to protect the visitors and customers and prevent injuries or any harm.
Premises liability claim elements that must be established
In order to sue the owner of a grocery store for failing to ensure a safe environment for his/her customers and recover compensation for your injuries, your Los Angeles premises liability attorney must prove the following elements of a premises liability claim:
- the property owner owed you a duty of care;
- that duty of care was breached either because the property owner failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent a slip and fall accident or created the dangerous condition that resulted in the accident;
- that breach of care was the primary or secondary cause of your injury (however, the owner of a grocery store cannot be held liable if a third party or you, the plaintiff, were fully responsible for causing the accident).
- A rule of thumb is that a property owner will be held liable for your injuries and damages if your lawyer can prove that the owner knew or should have known of a certain dangerous condition and should have taken precautions to prevent or fix that condition.
Examples of slip and fall claims against grocery stores
More often than not, premises liability lawsuits in Los Angeles and all across California can be confusing for an ordinary person with no law degree. And an outcome of a seemingly 100% successful case can result in a loss if you are not legally represented.
To make things less confusing, we asked our Los Angeles premises liability lawyer from the Compass Law Group, LLP to outline two most common examples in which (a) the owner of a grocery store can be held liable, and (b) the owner cannot be held responsible for a slip and fall accident.
- Catherine loves olive oil, so when she ran out of her favorite extra virgin olive oil, she went to the nearest grocery store in Los Angeles to get a new bottle so she could make some pancakes for her children. But while trying to pick out a bottle of olive oil in the oils isle in the grocery store, she slips and falls on a spilled oil. Catherine, who was badly injured in the accident, hires a Los Angeles premises liability attorney to conduct an investigation of her slip and fall accident. The investigation shows that the oil was spilled by accident by the store’s employee when he was unpacking oils on the shelves. Catherine’s lawyer also found out that the employees responsible for maintenance and cleaning did not clean the area in more than two hours before the accident occurred, while the grocery store has a strict policy that instructs its employees to walk through every isle, inspect the floor and shelves, and maintain a safe environment every 60 minutes. Furthermore, the property owner and other responsible parties did nothing to warn customers about the dangerous condition. In that case, Catherine will most likely be able to sue the property owner and recover damages for her injuries.
- James went into a grocery store and, as ironic as it may sound, slipped on a banana peel. He hired an attorney, whose investigation showed that the banana peel was dropped by another customer less than 10 minutes before the slip and fall accident. The grocery store has the same policy of having its employee inspect the floor every hour. The last such inspection took place just 5 minutes before the banana peel was dropped. Meaning: the grocery store owner and the employee responsible for the inspection were not aware of the dangerous condition and could not prevent it. Furthermore, neither the owner nor the employee did anything to create the dangerous condition. It was created by a third party. In that case, James’s premises liability claim would most likely not be successful.
Have you been injured in a premises liability accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California? Do not hesitate to contact our skilled attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP to look into your case and conduct a thorough investigation.