Premises liability law in Arizona strongly favors the landowner over the injured party. The most common occurrence of these cases is in grocery stores. Simply slipping and falling and getting injured is not enough to establish that the store is responsible for compensating you. The store has several defenses to use against you to defeat your claim.
The first is the “open and obvious” defense. If you slipped and fell in a puddle of cola on a white tile floor that had a diameter of six feet, the defendant will argue that the cola was in the open and obvious and you should have been able to see it. Remember: Bigger isn’t better in these scenarios.
The store can also allege that they had no “actual or constructive notice” of the dangerous condition. To satisfy that they had actual notice, you have to either show that one of their employees caused the dangerous condition or it had been previously reported to the store and the store had time to clean it or warn shoppers of its existence. Constructive notice requires showing that the dangerous condition had been on the floor for so long that the store should have known about it and warned their customers or cleaned it.
How do you prove constructive notice? Perhaps you observe shortly after the fall that the banana on the floor is turning brown or the spilled milk has many shopping cart tire tracks running through it. In both of these examples, the state of the dangerous conditions would suggest that they had been in place for a while, giving the store constructive notice of the condition. Another way of proving constructive notice is having a witness shopper say she saw the spill on the floor 30 minutes earlier when she was in that aisle.
Most stores also employ a procedure called “mode of operation.” These are basically the sweep charts that most of us have seen in the restrooms where a store employee initials or signs it every 30 minutes after allegedly walking or sweeping each aisle of the store. So, if you fall at 3:35 PM and a clerk signed the sheet at 3:30 PM, the store will argue that they had no notice of the dangerous condition and the aisle was in good shape just five minutes before the fall.
Many personal injury attorneys have avoided premise liability cases in their practices because of their difficulty to prove. I would be happy to offer you a free consultation to explore your potential claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured while lawfully on someone else’s premises (home, office, grocery store, land, etc.), reach out to the experienced lawyers at Select Law. With our extensive experience in the legal field, we know what it takes to win your case. Call us at (206) 237-8383 to arrange your FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced attorney (in person, phone, zoom or your residence/hospital)
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