Stores’ responsibility to protect people from slip-and-fall accidents

31 Oct, 2014
By: Donald W Fohrman

In a recent slip-and-fall lawsuit, a woman slipped on a puddle on her way to the bathroom in a supermarket, and as a consequence of the fall, she sustained serious injuries. The court determined the janitorial company was at fault because one of its employees left the water on the floor, but the owner of the store was also liable for neglecting to maintain a safe environment. Illinois holds business owners responsible for the safety of their customers.

Business owners must remove hazards in a timely manner

There are many potential sources for dangers such as slippery surfaces. A person who is injured in a fall needs to determine the reason before leaving the premises. A slick floor is often the cause, and substances that create hazards include the following:

  • Water, ice or snow
  • Oil or grease
  • Floor wax or polish
  • Food debris or foreign objects

Once the cause has been identified, there must also be evidence that the hazard has been on the floor long enough for the business owner to have discovered it, and ample time given for its removal as well. The longer a risk is present, the more likely it is for the owner to be held liable.

Negligence must be established

A successful negligence claim depends on the court determining if a reasonable person would have taken steps to avoid or remove the danger, but the victim must also prove that the fall did not occur because of personal carelessness. For example, an individual who acts in an inappropriate or unsafe way or ignores proper warnings of a slippery surface, such as a wet floor sign, usually cannot successfully claim that the owner of the store is at fault.

A business owner is required to take steps to maintain the cleanliness and safety of the store, and if there is no proof that preventative measures are regularly taken, the company should be held accountable. A victim of a slip-and-fall accident often sustains serious injury, and it is important to contact an Illinois injury attorney immediately so that liability can be established and compensation received to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering.

Category: Personal Injury

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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