An Overview of Premises Liability Cases in the State of California
Interviewer: Is there a difference between a slip and fall and a trip and a fall?
Richard Sailer: Slip and falls generally happen because there is some sort of a substance or debris on the floor or that the floor is improperly polished or waxed. Trip and falls happen if there is a physical defect such as a crack, a raised elevated joint or torn carpet, or physical objects that caused you to trip over it. A trip is due to physical defect on the ground whereas a slip would happen on a completely a safe flooring but something spilled or dropped resulting in an injury.
The Produce Department of a Grocery Store is the Common Location for a Typical Slip and Fall Incident
Interviewer: What are the most common places that slip and fall injuries occur?
Richard Sailer: The most common place would be in the grocery store — specifically the produce department.
Customers May Slip Over Spilled Goods in the Produce Department of a Grocery Store
Interviewer: What is usually the scenario? Was someone being careless? Did something spill due to the fault of the store employees? Was there not any sort of precaution?
Richard Sailer: It’s two-folded. The customers drop things and the displays are stacked too high or not far enough back from the edge. We all can imagine the apple display where they are perfectly all stacked up. Sometimes a customer comes and bumps an apple or pulls one out and suddenly they go rolling down. What we often see on the floor are usually the small round objects: grapes, cherries, limes, brussel sprouts, etc. The small round things that end up on the floor get kicked around and somebody ends up stepping on it.
Liquids May Drip from Their Containers Can Also Contribute to Slip and Fall Incidents
Interviewer: Do you ever see cases involving detergents, bottled water, or milk?
Richard Sailer: The areas around the store where we see the most accidents involve liquids. An area we would see a lot of slip and falls, apart from the produce department, is the frozen foods aisle where things are dripping because the air conditioning or the refrigeration units leak. Furthermore, we also see a lot of liquids in the soda aisle and detergent aisle spilled on the floor. Usually what happens is that a product gets damaged while it’s being stocked and the bottles containing these liquids accidentally gets cut. It’s just a small leak and nobody notices it until it starts dripping out after it’s put on the shelf. Eventually, the liquid works its way underneath the aisle and somebody comes and slips on it.
Highly Polished Surfaces Cause a Lot of Slip and Fall Accidents in California
Interviewer: What types of surfaces often leads to slips and falls?
Richard Sailer: Usually debris on highly polished surfaces such as tiles or linoleum result in slip and falls.