Tripped over raised threshold to bathroom in supermarket...

by Michael
(Boston)

This happened to my 96-year-old mother. She lives independently and shows little sign of cognitive decline. She uses a walker, but still gets around. Her vision is better than mine. She will be leaving to see relatives in Alabama in a few days. All this is by way of saying she was doing as well as could be hoped for from a person her age before this accident.

Now, she is in a great deal of pain, needs help getting dressed, and is experiencing a significant decline in her quality of living.

What is certain is that my mother tripped, broke her arm and has been in great pain since taking a fall in or at the entrance to the bathroom of a major supermarket. What is not clear is where she took that fall. At first she said she tripped leaving the bathroom stall. When I asked her again, she said she tripped when entering the bathroom.

Big difference. The market's risk management consultants investigated the inside of the bathroom and claim that there was no raised flooring or other obstruction that would put their client at risk of damages. They took pictures and claim to have a witness who will testify as to my mother's position directly after the fall. I have asked for a transcript.

I went to the supermarket today and took a number of pictures that show a raised threshold at the entrance to the bathroom. It is a lip perhaps an inch tall. It would be quite easy to trip over; it would have helped if they had painted the edge yellow. However, the consultants told me that even if she had tripped over the raised threshold, the supermarket would not be liable for damages.

How should I proceed, if at all? Is the supermarket liable? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Tripped over raised threshold to bathroom in supermarket...":

Michael (Boston):

Proving that the supermarket is liable for your mother's injuries and related decline in health will be very difficult. To do so will take clear and convincing evidence that the ledge was not only the direct and proximate cause, but that the ledge was inherently dangerous.

There may be a video of the incident. You can ask the supermarket to give you a copy, but they will probably decline. If you can find an attorney who will accept the case, the attorney can file a lawsuit and subpoena the video, if it still exists.

Even if the video shows your grandmother slipped and fell in the ledge, the supermarket will contend thousands of people before her and after her have walked across the ledge without falling. As a result, the ledge might logically be safe.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Gather your mother's medical bills and records and make several appointments with personal injury attorneys in your area.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
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