Visitor Question

My mother slipped and fell on soapy water…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Moreno Valley, California)

My mom fell at a market where the floor was soapy with water and no wet floor signs. She slipped and fell and hurt her knee. The store manager was called and made the report, and security on hand and a male employee helped my mom up as it was very painful. They noticed there were no wet floor signs. They even got her a Mobil cart so she could get to her car.

The employees noticed there was no sign when my mom was on the floor but later they added the sign before the manager got there. Although we made sure to tell her when she made the report. I was too nervous to take pictures at the moment. I did however take a pic of my mom’s knee when we got home. It’s red and scratched and she did show it to me in front of the manager.

My mom doesn’t want to go to the doctor. Will the market call us? If they do, what do we say? Will they offer compensation if she doesn’t go to the doctor? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Anonymous,

The legal issue involved in your mom’s slip and fall injury is referred to as “Premises Liability“. This is the general term describing a landowner’s legal duties to those persons who enter upon his or her land, or premises.

The word landowner is often used instead of property owner, as property can include land, but can also include personal property such as jewelry, computers, bicycles, cars, and other items which are not actual land. In many cases the term “real property” is used to describe land, while the term “personal property” is used to describe cars, computers, jewelry and other property which is onto land.

There are three categories of persons who enter onto real property:

  1. Invitees are persons who enter onto a premises with with the intention of spending money on something the landowner is selling. For example, a shopper in a store is there to spend money in return for the store selling its goods or services. The same would be true for a hotel guest who spends money so the landowner can provide a hotel room, restaurant, fitness center, etc.
  2. Licensees are persons permitted to enter upon the premises but they do so without having to sharing goods, services, or benefits with the landowner. For example, a house guest or a neighbor would be a licensee.
  3. Trespassers are persons who enter upon the premises without the permission or invitation of the landowner. For example, a person who knows he or she is not permitted on the premises, but comes on anyway, or a burglar who breaks into a store.

Your mother would fall under the category of Invitee. The store owner had a legal duty to do everything within reason to assure the store was safe for your mom and for other shoppers.

Failing to clean up the spill in a timely manner, or failing to place a cautionary sign near the spill may be considered negligence by the store owner, and as such, constituted a breach of the store owner’s legal duty of care. As a result, your mom would have the basis of a legitimate personal injury claim against the store owner.

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: October 19, 2017

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