Elizabeth Smith's Fall Case Studies

881 Words4 Pages
Statement of Facts While grocery shopping, Samantha Smith slipped on clear shampoo that had leaked out of a bottle and fell. She was taken to the hospital, diagnosed with a broken hip, and required to stay the night. She will need many months of physical therapy to recover. Ms. Smith is a mother of a two year old and does not have healthcare insurance. The store claims not to be aware of the spill. The store conducts a floor inspection at the top of every hour. The employee charged with checking the isles for debris was an older man with glasses. He checked the isle at 1:00PM and Ms. Smith fell at approximately 1:30PM. The store alleges that Ms. Smith was distracted by her son and did not notice the spill on the floor and therefore is equally at fault. Question Presented Whether one has a duty to observe the floor while in a store and therefore can be held 50% comparatively at fault for a fall, negating any recovery. Brief Answer No. Ms. Smith’s fall was foreseeable as the store should have had constructive knowledge of the hazard, based on the time lapse between the inspection and the fall. Therefore the store’s failure to maintain a reasonably safe environment was the proximate cause of Ms. Smith’s fall. Applicable Statute…show more content…
Smith’s actions of being distracted by her son contributed at least 50% to her fall and subsequent injury. The store meets the definition of fault, as stated in section 34-6-2-45. A party may be liable for injuries caused by his/her negligent actions, if said actions were the proximate cause of the injuries. To have proximate cause, the injuries must be a probable consequence of the negligence. Control Techniques, Inc. v. Johnson, 762 N.E.2d 104, 108 (Ind. 2002). By not keeping the aisles clear of any hazards, the store set into motion a foreseeable chain of events, resulting in Ms. Smith’s injuries. Thus, the proximate cause of Ms. Smith’s fall was the hazard on the shopping aisle
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