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Plaintiff Unsuccessful in Premises Liability Case Arising from Grocery Store Slip and Fall

Earlier this month, a state appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a plaintiff’s slip-and-fall case against a grocery store because the plaintiff was unable to present sufficient evidence that the accident was caused by the store’s negligence. In the case of Edwards v. Hy-Vee, the court determined that there was insufficient evidence to show that the defendant grocery store caused the dangerous condition that resulted in the plaintiff’s fall, and there was also insufficient evidence that the store employees even knew of the condition’s existence.

Watermelon SlicesThe Facts of the Case

Mrs. Edwards was with her young daughter, shopping at a grocery store operated by Hy-Vee. On her way out of the store, Edwards slipped and fell on what appeared to be a piece of watermelon. As she got up, she noticed that a Hy-Vee employee was handing out watermelon samples just a few feet away.

Edwards filed a premises liability lawsuit against Hy-Vee, arguing that the grocery store should be liable for her damages. She made two main claims. First, she asserted that the grocery store caused the dangerous condition leading to her fall. Second, she claimed that even if the store didn’t cause the condition to be present, it was negligent in failing to clean it up in a timely manner.

The court ended up ruling against Edwards in both of her claims. First, the court explained that there was no indication that the employee dropped the watermelon on the floor. Instead, the court determined that the most reasonable inference was that another customer dropped it. That being the case, the court was not comfortable holding that the store “caused” the watermelon to be on the floor simply by handing out a sample to another customer who ultimately dropped it. Thus, this argument failed.

Moving on to Edwards’ second argument, the court explained that only if the store had constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition could it be held liable. Constructive knowledge does not require actual knowledge but instead requires that the store should have known that there was a dangerous condition. However, since Edwards was not able to prove how long the watermelon had been on the floor, there was no evidence to suggest that the store’s employees should have known that there was a dangerous condition that needed cleaning. Thus, the second claim also failed.

As a result, Edwards will not be able to recover compensation for the injuries she sustained in her slip-and-fall accident.

Have You Been Injured on Another Party’s Property?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. These claims are based almost entirely on the evidence presented to the court, and if there is an insufficient investigation conducted, you may be left with little to no evidence in your favor. The skilled attorneys at Miller Legal Services have decades of experience investigating and litigating slip-and-fall cases on behalf of their clients, and we know what it takes to be successful in Georgia courts. Call 770-284-3727 today to set up a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

Photographic Evidence of Uneven Sidewalk Taken 30 Days after Injury Deemed Insufficient to Raise Question of Liability, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2016.

Man Successfully Sues Insurance Company after Rejecting Company’s Low-Ball Offer, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2016.