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Premises Liability

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of our video blog. I’m Marcus Michles here at Michles & Booth. I’m going to talk to you a little bit today about something that I’ll bet struck you as pretty obvious and yet doesn’t really work out the way you think it does and that’s what we call premises liability. What you might be familiar with more as kind of a slip and fall scenario you know that classic you’re in the grocery store you step on a grape or something on the floor maybe a puddle of water the refrigeration is out in one of the one of the bins and you slip in you fall and you hurt yourself. You know there’s kind of that classic banana peel concept and people generally are very embarrassed and picked themselves up and then they realize wow you know I’m hurt.

They hurt their knee, they hurt their elbow, they hit their head there’s some pretty serious injuries that occur and slip and fall scenarios but here’s what you might not really fully appreciate or fully understand about slip and falls. It’s not a matter of strict liability meaning the store is not always one hundred percent responsible just because you fell on their premises. There’s an element to this that a lot of people that call me just don’t really fully appreciate and that element is negligence. Now you might think we’ll look if there ‘s a puddle on the floor that’s negligence.

Well the law doesn’t look at it quite so simply or you might think hey if there’s a grape on the floor that’s negligence. The store owner has a duty to the customers and the invitees as they’re known that they come to that business the store owner has a duty but that Duty is reasonable care not perfection. So let’s say that I’m shopping in front of you and I drop a grape. You don’t see me drop the grape. I go about my business I don’t know I dropped a grape. You walk behind me step on the grape slip fall and get hurt. Well in that scenario the argument that the store owner can make and oftentimes very successfully make is that they had no chance to clean up that grape one customer dropped and the second customer stepped on it.

Similarly if there’s a puddle on the ground we all say well listen why don’t you put up those wet floor signs. Well if you have notice that there’s a puddle you should certainly put up wet floor signs. But what if somebody spilled some milk or ice cream or whatever. It is customer A creates the hazard customer B steps in the hazard. The argument is, is that the store has an obligation to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe manner. Sometimes that means people patrolling the aisles on a regularly scheduled cleaning schedule or observation scheduled to look for hazards or dangers to the public. But you can’t always simply claim that just because there was an accident somebody was negligent. So if you slip and you fall a couple of things. I would just give you some general tips on.

First of all report it. Get management from the store involved. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. Sometimes all you want to do is get out of the store and often times I’ve talked to people that have no written record or no account of what’s happened. First and foremost get a manager. Get a statement, fill out an accident report. You may not get a copy of it and you may not believe it or not be entitled to a copy of it but make sure that they prepare one. Next get yourself checked out by a doctor. Very important of course to take care of yourself physically. Finally make sure that they are on notice of your fall from a standpoint of whether there are any surveillance cameras. We live in a world now where there are cameras just about everywhere and in stores particularly there’s usually cameras filming. Don’t be surprised if that camera loops over itself in 24 or 48 hours.

So you have to try to maintain that safeguarding of the film or the video. You need to let the store know that you’re interested in seeing that video so that they preserve it and keep it. Finally talk to a lawyer that has experience in premises liability and slip and fall law because it’s not quite what you think it is and sometimes you can you can mess those cases up. But keep in mind just because you fall doesn’t mean the stores responsible. They have to have done something negligent or have acted negligently in some way. You bear the burden of proving that they were negligent. So for now that’s it that’s it this week talking about premises liability slip and falls. If you have questions you can contact me directly. You can email us at for the victims dot com. You can check out our other installments of our video blog and if you have topics you’d like me to cover. Just give me a call let me know what you want to hear and I’ll comply. This is Marcus Michles on behalf of Michles & Booth. Thanks for watching.

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