Visitor Question

Liability for my son spilling milk in a store and a customer slipping?

Submitted By: A (USA)

I was in a store with my son, and while I was paying at the register my child spilled his milk on the floor. The customer behind me slipped and fell. I was unaware that my child spilled milk on the floor, and the accident occurred after I left the store.

Am I, or the store liable for the customer’s accident? If so, how much can I be sued for? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear A,

The determining factor in liability is negligence. In the facts you present, negligence doesn’t seem apparent. The spilling of milk was quite obviously an accident. While in most cases, parents are liable for the actions of their minor children, in your son’s case, because it was an accident, it is unlikely you will be liable.

The next factor is the type of injuries sustained by the customer. If her injuries didn’t require medical care, then she really doesn’t have a legitimate personal injury claim. For a personal injury claim to have any chance of succeeding, the victim must have proof of “damages.” Damages normally include medical or chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The next factor is the store’s liability. For the store to be liable, they must have been negligent. Because they didn’t have a reasonable amount of time to clean up the spill, it is unlikely they will be liable.

Finally, if the victim has sustained some form of damages, the store’s insurance will likely cover those amounts. While they don’t have to, in most cases business insurance will cover injuries occurring on store premises, even when liability isn’t present.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 30, 2014

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