The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, recently considered the case of a woman who was injured while shopping at a Publix Super Market. The case demonstrates the standard for slip and fall accidents and what evidence you need to support your claim for personal injury as a result of such an accident.
Facts of the Case
In Brown v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., the plaintiff was grocery shopping in the deli section of a Publix Super Market. The deli area floor was mostly covered with floor mats, except for the area in front of the deli counter entrance, which is where the plaintiff experienced a slip and fall accident and was injured. The plaintiff alleged that the slip and fall accident was caused by grease spots, which were admittedly not easily visible and allegedly about two inches in surface area. Video of the incident showed employees in the area with containers of liquid prior to the slip and fall accident, but the video did not otherwise confirm any hazardous condition on the floor. The plaintiff sued Publix for negligence and sought to recover damages for the personal injuries that resulted from the slip and fall. The plaintiff’s husband also sued Publix for loss of consortium.
Proving Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
To establish a claim based on negligence related to a slip and fall accident in southern Georgia, you must prove that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous area that caused the accident, and that you, after exercising reasonable care, did not know or have reason to know of the hazardous conditions of the property that was within the control of the defendant. You can prove constructive knowledge by showing an employee or representative of the defendant was in the proximity of the hazardous area and could have seen the substance, or that the hazard persisted for some time and should have been discovered by the defendant upon reasonable inspection.
The Court’s Decision
In affirming the district court’s decision, the appeals court noted that Publix had a safety policy in place that called for employees to seek out and immediately remedy potential hazards that could cause injury to customers. The court also noted that while the video footage leading up to the slip and fall accident did show many employees passing through the accident area, no substance was readily identifiable on the floor where the accident occurred. Because of these reasons, the court held that Publix did not have actual or constructive knowledge because there was no evidence of a foreign substance that created a hazardous condition, and Publix had a reasonable inspection program in place that was executed in the time leading up to the accident.
Contact Us For Help
As demonstrated in Brown v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., slip and fall accidents are highly fact specific cases that depend upon gathering credible evidence when the accident occurs. If you or someone you know were injured as a result of a hazardous condition on the property of another in the Florida or southern Georgia area, call the slip and fall personal injury attorneys of Fasig & Brooks. The skilled professionals at the Law Firm of Fasig & Brooks have many years of experience fighting for injured clients. Call us today to set up your free initial consultation at (850) 222-3232.