Supermarket premises dutyThe supermarket or retail store has a duty to maintain its premises in such a manner that it does not create an unreasonable risk of harm to the patrons or customers. It must, under California law, exercise ordinary due care under the circumstances of the slip and fall to minimize the commonly occurring slipping hazards (which caused the fall in the first place!). Industry standards create the bar by which the activities of the at-fault party are measured. The supermarket or retail store industry has adopted inspection and maintenance procedures that are designed to minimize these hazards.

Under some recent cases that help shape slip and fall injury law, if the at-fault party (supermarket or retail store owner) does not conduct regular and frequent inspections of his or her business premises, the courts will permit the assumption that the hazard or slippery substance leading to the fall injury was in place a sufficient length of time for the defendant to have reasonably corrected or abated the hazard. This definitely benefits the slip and fall victim.

As I have continually blogged and posted articles on, the slip and fall victim must show that the hazard or slippery substance that the victim slipped on was the result of the activities of the at-fault party (supermarket or retail store owner) or the failure to act was the result of the at-fault party's breach of his or her duty to reasonably maintain the business premises in a reasonably safe manner. This proof or evidence usually requires an expert to establish the custom and practice of the industry, to document the existence of the hazard and to establish reasonable and necessary safety procedures for inspection and maintenance of the supermarket or retail store premises. In some instances, the burden of proof shifts to the at-fault party. For example, most modern interpretations require the at-fault business store owner to prove that he or she exercised reasonable care in the maintenance of his or her business premises. The at-fault business owner now has to present evidence that inspections and cleaning were done on a frequent and adequate basis, that the defective condition of the floor did not result from any negligent act of the at-fault business owner or his employees, and, more importantly, he or she did not have any actual or constructive notice of the hazard.
Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney
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