Slip and fall cases in retail stores are common. Human factors studies and common experience show that when we are shopping our eyes are where retailers want them, on their goods. Also when we are shopping we often are carrying goods or have a shopping cart filled with items obstructing our view.
We have the right to assume that retail premises are in a reasonably safe condition. Washington law recognizes that people simply engage in intermittent glances at the floor and the law does not require us to keep our eyes fixed on the floor immediately ahead of us. Washington law requires customers only to exercise the degree of care which a reasonably prudent person of ordinary intelligence would exercise under like or similar circumstances.
On the other hand, retail stores are not guarantors of our safety and, like patrons, are only required by law to act reasonably under the circumstances. Stores are liable for injury only if the store knew, or should have known about the injury-causing hazard. The should-have-known rule is called constructive notice and will apply only on proof that the water, shampoo, produce, or other hazard was present so long that the store should have discovered it and cleaned it up. The mere presence of water of other hazards does not make a store liable for an injury.
We have successfully handled cases for clients injured in retail stores. If you have been injured in a store contact our office for a no-cost and no-obligation consultation.