Woman Wins $430,000 in Trader Joe’s Slip and Fall
Slip and fall lawsuits are notoriously difficult to litigate. Filed under the theory of premises liability, slip and falls require that the plaintiff prove that the defendant was in some way negligent and therefore at least partly responsible for the accident that caused their injuries. In order to be negligent, the defendant must have either caused the dangerous condition, known about the dangerous condition, or should have made more of an effort to be aware of the dangerous condition. In cases where the plaintiff alleges that the defendant “should have known”, the same allegation can be thrown back in the plaintiff’s face.
In other words, the defendant could just as easily say, ‘Why weren’t you looking where you were going?” and “You knew it was raining outside, so why didn’t you take extra care?”
This was precisely the case in a recent lawsuit filed against Trader Joe’s. Nonetheless, the plaintiff was able to recover $430,000 after a jury determined that she was only 15% responsible for her injuries.
The plaintiff alleged that Trader Joe’s failed to distribute their mats in the vestibule sufficiently and this was the proximate cause of her slip and fall that resulted in injuries. According to the complaint, it had been raining that day so there was increased risk of slippery floors and the employees failed to maintain the mats to prevent slips. There were no signs anywhere telling customers to be aware of the slip hazard. The woman fractured her knee and herniated a disc in her neck.
Defenses Against Slips and Falls
The defense disputed the claim that there were no warning cones and claimed that there were. They also claimed that they had no time to react to the potential problem. They then attacked the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, saying that they weren’t as bad as she claimed.
The jury held that the plaintiff’s injuries amounted to $517,128 in total damages and held Trader Joe’s 85% liable for the accident. That resulted in a reduction of her final award to $438,559.
The obvious hole in a defense like this goes as such: (1) There were warning cones placed around the slip hazard (2) The staff didn’t have time to recognize or respond to the dangerous condition. For obvious reasons, both of these assertions cannot be simultaneously true. If the employees had the wherewithal to place warning cones, then they should have made some effort to ensure that the mats were placed in a way that minimized the threat to their customers. By claiming both simultaneously, the defense set itself up to appear disingenuous and that resulted in an 85% liability judgment against them.
Talk to a Miami Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you’ve suffered an injury on-premises, talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. We understand what it takes to win these lawsuits and can secure you a fair settlement for your injuries.