Trips Slips and Falls at Stores
Most people think that if you fall at a store or on some one’s property that the property owner is responsible for your injuries solely due to their ownership of the property, however, in North Carolina that is far from the truth. Instead we have two distinct ways of determining whether there is fault on behalf of the store or property owner.
First, if you fall at a public location such as a grocery store you must prove negligence. A store must provide a safe shopping environment. If they fail to provide a safe shopping area they may be liable. However, this is not the final portion as they may not be liable for dangerous conditions not caused by their own actions unless they have had sufficient notice of the existence of the dangerous condition.
The law in North Carolina is; “Where a plaintiff customer slips or falls on an object and is injured in a retail establishment, the “plaintiff must show that the defendant either (1) negligently created the condition causing the injury, or (2) negligently failed to correct the condition after actual or constructive notice of its existence.” Roumillat v. Simplistic Enterprises, Inc., 331 N.C. 57, 64, 414 S.E.2d 339, 342-43 (1992).
So, in order to recover for trips, slips and falls at stores you must show that the reason you slipped, tripped or fell was due to some condition created by the store itself or its employees OR that the condition had been there long enough for the defendant or its employees to know that the dangerous condition existed.
One of the common ways people become injured in retail stores involves water on the floor. You must proving how the water got on the floor or how long the water was on the floor. Therefore, failure by “[a] store … to exercise ordinary care to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn of any hidden dangers of which it knew or should have known” constitutes negligence. Stallings v. Food Lion, Inc., 141 N.C.App. 135, 137, 539 S.E.2d 331, 333 (2000). Therefore, as you shop be careful of your surroundings.
If you do have the misfortune to be seriously injured by falling at a store, before you walk off embarrassed, figure out why you fell and what caused the fall. If you don’t, it may be impossible to prove. Call a law firm, such as ours early. We may need to investigate why you trips Slips and Falls at Stores early, looking for witnesses, photos and videos.