Premises Liability (Slip Or Trip And Fall Accidents, Etc)



Laymen Do Not Understand Why NO Liability in Many Cases
This is a difficult area of the law for the layman to understand and for the attorney to explain liability rationale to her client. Most of us pretty much assume that if we slip on a grape in a grocery store and injure our hip, the store will pay our medical bills and compensate us for our pain and suffering. The hard truth for most claimants to understand is that in the absence of a breach of duty, which must be shown on the part of the owner or the occupier of land, a person injured thereon is likely not entitled to recovery under tort theories of law. In the above example, if a customer had grapes in her basket and one fell out in the pet food aisle just seconds before you arrived, the store is not going to be liable. On the other hand, if the employees coming to and from break passed through the pet food aisle, and you can show that the grapes (or other substance) had been there for some substantial time (perhaps it was a puddle of something which had been tracked by carts up and down the aisle), then, the store will likely be liable. In the exercise of reasonable care, they should have known of the hazard, and they had ample opportunity to rectify it.
In premises liability cases, liability and recovery depend much more on the individual facts of each case than in other areas of tort law, such as motor vehicle accidents. In this area, some states still make some distinction as to a person's status (i.e. invitee on the property or trespasser). In all states, the defense of comparative negligence will more likely be raised than it would be in a motor vehicle case.