The Victim's Shoes:
Whenever possible on a slip and fall injury case that moves to trial, you should allow a retained expert to examine the shoes worn by the injured slip and fall victim so they can be eliminated as a potential cause of the slip and fall accident; or, in the alternative, to create enough evidence that can serve as the basis for a potential product defect liability action. Perhaps the expert could generate enough evidence to have a legal action against the manufacturer of the shoe or the shoe retailer. For example, I have heard of the new "shape up" shoes causing some walking and gait issues for elderly people. Keep in mind, some sole and heel materials are also inherently slippery, and to this end, defective, regardless of the condition of the floor surface. Remember that every slip and fall case should be evaluated as a potential products defect case; however, most everyday shoes are not defective so the physical characteristics of the shoes should be carefully evaluated so they can be ruled out as a contributing factor to the cause of the slip and fall accident. I still have my eye out on these new "shape up" shoes that seem to be the fad at the moment.
The Floor Surface:
Keep an eye out for lack of adequate traction as this appears to be the most common cause of slip and falls in most retail stores. A wet or contaminated surface can also substantially reduce the amount of available potential traction and thereby creating a slippery condition. Just like an accident waiting to happen. Testing and measurements of the floor should be done on slip and fall cases that will have this as their main theme. The slip and victim has to show that the floor surface was dangerous under the conditions existing at the time of the slip and fall accident.
The Slip and Fall Victim/Person:
In the majority of slip and fall injury cases, the injured person falls victim if you will to the slippery substance or hazardous condition while doing things or shopping inside a retail store; those things are usually reasonable and more importantly, foreseeable. Sometimes, however, most or some of the blame lies with the slip and fall victim. Yes, that is correct; not all slip and fall cases are innocent victims. A reasonable and sometimes effective defense point is that the customer acted or reacted in an imprudent or not reasonable manner, such as climbing over displays, running inside the retail store, climbing over merchandise or simply failing to heed or acknowledge warning devices or signs. Similar to the legal burden placed on the storeowner to prove that he or she acted or did things in a reasonable manner for safety and maintenance of the retail store, so too the slip and fall victim should be able to show that his or her activity level was not only reasonable but reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances.