Wife fell on a slippery floor...

by Gary
(Fulton, NY)

We went to the supermarket to get groceries and while shopping my wife went to the restroom. I continued to shop. She came back to me in pain and upset and soaking wet! She said she slipped and fell hard on her back. She reported it to the front desk immediately and the manager rushed to fill out an accident report with us.

Now my wife is in severe pain. The store did not offer any type of assistance or didn't even care about what happened! There were no warning signs near the wet area, nor any marking tape. This could of happened to anyone. Imagine some elderly old lady...it could have killed her! I still don't know what my wife's condition might be. What do we do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Wife fell on a slippery floor...":

Gary (Fulton, NY):

Take your wife to her doctor, a local emergency medical clinic, or to the emergency room. Doing so should take precedence over accident reports, legal action, discussions of insurance coverage, and other related details.

As soon as possible after you take your wife for medical treatment, go back to the store and request a copy of the accident report, which should have been completed by the manager or a designated employee. While the store is not legally required to give you a copy, you have nothing to lose by asking.

Seek out the store manager. Be sure the manager is aware of the time and date of the accident and the injuries sustained by your wife. Tell the manager the store should have at least placed a cautionary sign near the spill, cordoned off the area, or mopped up the water.

While stores are required to keep restrooms clean and free of water, debris and other objects which might cause a customer to slip and fall, that duty is "qualified."

This means if the store had an employee make regular inspections of the restroom, and each time the restroom was inspected it was free of water in the floor, then the store might not be liable. That's because the water might have spilled onto the floor during the interim in between inspections. If that's the case, the store might not be liable.

In other words, the courts don't normally require stores to post employees at each restroom at all times the store is open. Requiring that would be unreasonable. As long as the store made reasonably timed inspections, the store would likely not be liable for your wife’s injuries.

In the alternative, if the store neglected to timely check the restroom for spills, debris, etc., or neglected to clean up a spill they knew about, and as a result water remained on the floor, then the store could be liable for your wife’s injuries and resulting medical bills, expenses, etc.

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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