Slip and Falls are known as being one of the most difficult areas of personal injury cases to win for Plaintiffs. When a person slips on a spilled drink in a supermarket, the supermarket often blames the person who slipped as being the responsible party. They argue that the victim should have looked where they were going, and often trot out the ineffectual argument that others in the area didn’t fall so it must have been the victim’s fault. These arguments can be tricky to deal with, but often it is easier to overcome these arguments than others.
The most difficult thing to overcome in slip and fall cases is often proving the Defendant knew or should have known the spills or hazards were present and were a danger. Supermarkets and other major stores often argue that they didn’t have notice of the spill and that there was no way they could find out that such a danger existed. As Plaintiff’s attorneys, we always look for the videotape of the area where the fall occurred, but sometimes no videotape exists or no video camera was recording that area. Knowing these issues, we at Parnell, Michels & McKay are always looking around the country for cutting edge approaches based on new scientific studies and research. One such study from a firm in California used cutting edge science to test how dangerous a supermarket floor can be even without liquid on it. The study focused on comparisons of slippery objects, and how much more dangerous they get when covered with a liquid or other slippery item. One such focus was on supermarket floors, which use a bright tile that helps make their products “pop” from the aisles. The study demonstrated that once these floors get wet with water, or any spilled liquid product, they become extremely dangerous for anyone walking over them. The slippery quotient multiplied exponentially, and the studies demonstrated that once a supermarket floor gets wet like this they are effectively ticking time bombs for prospective customers. The study also found that supermarkets often consider buying a more tacky, or rough floor surface that significantly reduces how slippery and dangerous their floors can get. However, these floors are often not reflective of light, are generally darker, and do not look as shiny and bright as the more common tiles preferred by supermarkets.
These supermarkets, when faced with the option of installing safer floors, decide not to and instead install the more aesthetically pleasing tiles that become extremely dangerous when wet. This helps demonstrate that not only did the supermarket know the floors they installed would be slippery, but that they deliberately decided against purchasing a safer floor because it didn’t look as pretty.