My mother called me yesterday to tell me that she had fallen in a store and was injured. The incident was reported to the store's managerial staff, and she headed straight to the hospital after she was hurt.
She says that she slipped and fell on a wet floor, and that there were no warning signs in place even though staff members were walking by the area.
Can she sue for her injuries?
Sorry to hear about your mom’s injuries. Hopefully, she recovers quickly and doesn’t have any lasting pain or difficulties.
It’s impossible to determine whether your mother has a case because we don’t know all of the details surrounding the accident. It seems like she may have a valid injury claim, but only a lawyer can determine this for sure.
If she hasn’t done so already, your mother should probably consult with a lawyer to get a more clear-cut answer.
I say that it sounds like she has a case because the store didn’t appear to take reasonable steps to prevent the slip (or hazard). No warning signs were posted, and staff should have noticed the wet floor if they were walking by it.
Half the battle of winning a personal injury claim is proving that the other party was negligent.
“The accusing party must prove the property owner did not provide the proper level of care at the time of the accident to prove negligence,” says Steinberg Goodman & Kalish.
In this case, it might be argued that the store did not provide the appropriate level of care when your mother was injured.
This is not to say that the store is clearly responsible. Again, we don’t have all of the details. Why was the floor wet? Did a customer spill something and the staff was not yet alerted to the incident? Is there video recording of the incident?
These are questions that must be answered and will provide a more definitive answer as to whether your mom has a case.
It sounds like your mother is already receiving medical treatment, which is important because she needs to show that the accident lead to real damages. Make sure that she is documenting all medical care related to her injury. If she does decide to file a lawsuit, she’ll need to have evidence that the accident required medical care, especially if the injury will require ongoing care.
Did she take any photos of the area or her injuries? Has the store been asked to preserve video footage, if there is any?
You said that the incident was reported to store management. That report should have initiated a claim with the store’s insurance company. Has an insurance adjuster already contacted your mother? Has a settlement already been offered?
Slip and fall cases are not easy to win. It’s best for your mother to contact an attorney who can advise on the best course of action to take. Only an attorney can provide you with a real answer about your mother’s case.