Victims of retail slip-and-fall accidents may choose to bring a claim against store owners to recover medical expenses and other damages relating to the incident. As you and your attorney gather evidence to build your premises liability case, you should also consider the possible defenses the store owners will use to defend themselves against your claims and find ways to refute them. Here are some of the most common defenses used by store owners facing slip-and-fall claims.
Victim’s accident was caused by the victim’s own negligence.
Just because a slip-and-fall accident occurred in a retail store, does not mean that the store is automatically responsible for what happened. The store owners may argue that the victim of the slip-and-fall caused their own accident by:
- Wearing ill-fitting/unsafe shoes
- Failing to pay attention
- Texting or using a cell phone while walking through the store
- Ignoring warning signs
Store owner did not have adequate notice of dangerous condition.
For a store owner to be liable for a slip-and-fall accident, they must have had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition that caused the accident. These types of notice are defined as follows:
- Actual notice: Store owner was made aware of dangerous condition.
- Constructive notice: Store owner reasonably should have known of dangerous condition.
The store owner may argue that the dangerous condition only existed for a short time and; therefore, there was not enough time for the owner to discover it.
Dangerous condition was open and obvious.
The store owner may argue that a reasonable person would know that the dangerous condition that caused the accident was a hazard. They may argue that the victim ignored “open and obvious” hazard and put themselves at risk.
Preparing for these possible defenses is critical to give slip-and-fall victims the best chance at recovering damages after an accident. A personal injury attorney representing the victim can help address these defenses in court.