Visitor Question

Slipped and fell on cooking oil…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Minnesota)

I went to the grocery store to do a little shopping and went to get some cooking oil. I didn’t know the cooking oil container was already leaking, so when I picked it up it leaked out even more on the floor. When I put the oil in my cart I noticed oil on my hands, so I picked up the container to inspected it. I took a step and fell.

Can I sue the store for damages? Do I have any liability because I picked up the container and it spilled more? What can I do? 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.


Dear Anonymous,

The grocery store is bound by the legal doctrine of Premises Liability. This means grocery stores, like other commercial establishments open to the public, have a legal duty to do everything within reason to make their premises safe for all those persons legally upon it.

Because grocery stores have employees who stock shelves, keep aisles clear of debris, mop and wax floors clear, and perform similar functions, there is a good argument that one or more employees knew, or should have known the cooking oil container was leaking.

With that knowledge they should have removed the container so no one might slip and fall. Learn more about liability in slip and fall claims here. Because the employees failed to remove the leaky container, the grocery store breached its duty of care to you. That breach is referred to as the store’s “negligence.”

If, as a result of that negligence you were injured, you have a right to compensation for your damages. Damages can include your medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and for your pain and suffering.

To recover compensation for your injuries will require you to show the store’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries. Showing that should not be difficult, as there were no intervening factors which could have caused your fall.

Hopefully, the store manager or one of the store’s employees created an Incident Report at the time of your fall. An incident report is normally created to document incidents such as this for insurance purposes.

This is especially important for purposes of liability when a customer is injured, or claims to have been injured. While at this point you do not have a legal right to a copy of the report, you can always ask the manger for one.

Next, the store likely has a video surveillance system. Once again, at this point you do not have a right to a copy of the surveillance footage. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.

In the event a lawsuit is eventually filed, your attorney would have a right to subpoena the incident report and surveillance footage, take employee witness statements, access corporate memos, and more. It would be in your best interest to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Learn more here: Establishing Fault in Slip and Fall Claims

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,


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