An out-of-state woman recently filed a lawsuit against Dollar Tree Store Inc. in connection with a slip and fall that occurred last October. The accident, according to the complaint, occurred when the woman stepped in a puddle of water that was leaking from a refrigerator inside the store. As a result of her fall, she allegedly suffered injury to her ankle and knee.
Slip and fall accidents, which fall into the legal category of premises liability, can occur in a variety of circumstances. Injuries can occur whenever there are hazardous conditions on property. This includes standing water, slippery floors, breaks in pavement, icy sidewalks and accumulated snow, defects in stairs, lack of lighting and so on.
In premises liability cases, the ability to recover damages is dependent on the defendant having been in possession of the property at the time of the incident. There must also be an act of negligence, or some duty which has not been fulfilled. The ability to recovery also depends on the status of the plaintiff.
Was the plaintiff, for instance, invited onto the property for a business matter, as a social guest, or as a member of the public who was welcome on the property for a certain purpose held open to the public? In such cases, the duty of care is greater than it is for those who choose to come on the property for their own purposes and without invitation, and for trespassers.
In a situation like that involving a store, the duty of care for a premises owner in the state of Florida would usually be that more stringent one. Still, not every incident of injury on a property can translate into a successful premises liability lawsuit. Those who have been injured should work with an experienced attorney to have their situation evaluated and to put together the best possible case, both in terms of liability and damages.
Source: The Louisiana Record, “Dollar Tree sued by woman in slip and fall in puddle of water,” Lizzy Fitzsousa, May 13, 2014.