Question: Am I entitled to any compensation if I slip and fall on a wet floor in a store?
Question Detail: Saturday evening we had gotten a lot of rain. As I was walking into a grocery store, I stepped onto the concrete of the entryway and as soon as I did my feet flew out from underneath me & I landed on my back. I noticed that the rug was about a foot and a half from the door & the area had clearly not been mopped. Not to mention there was no wet floor sign in sight. It had been raining almost all day. I filed an incident report with the manager on duty and informed him I was pretty achy but seemed to be okay. He told me someone from their insurance dept would call me first thing Monday. I asked for a copy of the incident report which he refused to give me stating he wasn't allowed to due to company policy. He did say they had seen the fall on the tape & would be sending it along with the incident report to the insurance company. The morning after my fall I woke up with severe lower back pain. I'm also not quite 6 weeks post major surgery. I went to the ER to get checked out. No broken bones but was diagnosed with contusions of the lower back & muscle spasms. What can I do to ensure the store takes responsibility for this accident that could have been totally avoided if proper safety procedures had been followed? This happened in Texas. One lawyer informed me they couldn't take the case because rain was the underlying reason as to why I fell. Another lawyer is going to review the info & get back to me. I was asked what kind of shoes I was wearing. I was wearing flip flops like many other people in the store. But I don't think that my wearing flip flops caused me to fall because I had just been to Wal-Mart and didn't fall there and it was raining just as hard. Only reason I went to the other grocery store was because I forgot to get bread. Please let me know ASAP if there is anything I can do. It's almost end of business day and the call I was promised from the store's corporate office/insurance company has not happened yet.
Answer: First calm down because you don’t really need an answer as quickly as you think you do. Second, I practice in Iowa, not Texas and am not licensed in Texas so I can’t give advice about Texas law. You’ll need a Texas lawyer for that advice. But I can tell my readers what should happen in Iowa.
If this happened in Iowa you may be entitled to compensation. It all depends on how the facts play out in the case. This is a slip-and-fall case or that’s how it’s referred to in Iowa. There are also trip-fall cases but that doesn’t sound like your situation. The issue is who is more at fault, the store of the patron? And yes if the situation is not open and obvious or would not be obvious to a customer than the store has a duty to protect and/or warn the customers. Let’s discuss the facts.
- You knew it was raining and I’m pretty sure you know water on a tile floor is slick.
- Like many stores the manager wants your attention on goods and services along with sales so there is probably that sales poster in the entryway pointing out all the sweet merchandise currently on sale.
- The store knows the entranceway is slick and runners are made exactly for this situation. So it’s easy to protect and fairly cheap to protect the customer from a slip-fall accident in the entranceway.
- I’m going to guess you’re not the first customer that fell in that entranceway so this is foreseeable on the part of the store manager.
- The store apparently has video of the store entranceway so they know how many customers fell and even know it’s raining and that water is accumulating on the entranceway tile floor. Oops warning-warning! Assuming it shows you and shows you falling it would be my guess that video will probably disappear after you file a claim. You know store policy and all about destroying evidence, I mean surveillance. All for the protection of the customers’ privacy I’m sure.
- The store didn’t seem to protect or warn its customers – no runner and no sign.
- Contact the department store’s loss protection or hire a lawyer and let them do it.
There are no clear winners in litigation. Oh and one more thing, I hate flip-flops so you won’t want me on your jury.