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Target Wins, Don't Lose Your Slip and Fall Case Like This.


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3/1/2016
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Recently, the California Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming a summary judgment issued by a trial court in favor of Target Corporation in a slip and fall case. The suit was brought by Sandra Torres after she slipped and fell in a Target store in Santa Fe Springs, California. She claimed that she slipped and fell around fifteen minutes after entering her store because of an unknown item under her sandal that caused her to lose her balance. After she fell, she noticed a green crumpled wrapper on the floor that she had not noticed before she fell.

 Target showed that janitors cleaned the store every day before it opened at 8:00 a.m., and the facilities technician inspected the areas of the store that the janitors had cleaned. The technician walked through the store with a janitor to look for debris or liquid that needed to be cleaned up, which included the aisle where the plaintiff slipped. Target employees testified that they were stocking the shelves before the accident and that debris might have dropped on the floor, including in the area where Torres slipped. The Target employees were required to clean up the debris and transport it to a trash compactor, but they testified that they could not find anything that may have caused Torres to slip and fall.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals decided in Target’s Favor because Torres could not establish that Target knew or should have known of a dangerous condition. Torres did not know what caused her to slip and fall, and she did not know what she stepped on or how long it had been there before she fell. Additionally, Target presented evidence that its employees inspected the premises within a reasonable time, using the appropriate procedures, before the accident and could not find any hazards.

If you have suffered injuries after slipping and falling in someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. In California, the attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc. may be able to help you pursue your case.

Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Cases

Premises liability is an area of personal injury law that includes cases where people slip and fall on others’ properties. This arises from a property owner’s basic duty to keep his or her property in a reasonably safe condition. Owners must use reasonable care to discover any unsafe conditions that exist on their properties and repair, replace, or give adequate warning of such conditions. Failure to do so makes them liable for any injuries and damages that are incurred by those who are lawfully present in their property. There are three ways that property owners are held liable for slips and falls:

  • The owner or his or her employee caused the spill, debris, or other dangerous surface on the property;
  • The owner or his or her employee knew or should have known of the dangerous surface but did not do anything about it; or
  • The owner should have known of the dangerous surface because a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered the condition and removed or repaired it.

 

Notice Requirement

In Torres’ case above, the courts found that Target did not have any knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition in the store that caused Torres to slip and fall. An owner’s knowledge of the dangerous condition in his or her property is a key to establishing liability. The courts found that Target exercised reasonable care in that its employees followed established procedures for inspecting the property for any hazardous conditions but found none. Additionally, Torres could not prove that a hazard existed for a sufficiently long enough time that Target should have discovered it. Therefore, Target did not have any knowledge of the hazardous condition and could not be held liable for Torres’ injuries.

Obviously Unsafe Conditions

Generally, if a dangerous condition in the property is so obvious that a person could reasonably be expected to see it, the property owner has no additional duty to warn others of the situation. However, property owners may still have a duty to take precautions to protect against the risk of harm from an obviously unsafe condition, even if they do not have a duty to warn, if the condition is foreseeable. 

Premises liability is a complex area of law, and slip and fall cases may require extensive investigation and legal analysis. If you have been injured in a slip and fall in California, our seasoned attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc. may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact us for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at (888) 752-7474 or by completing our online contact form. Having a competent attorney by your side at the outset of your case will be helpful in achieving a positive outcome in your slip and fall case, so contact us today. 



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