Lack of Knowledge of Dangerous Condition as Premises Liability Defense

A district court recently ruled in favor of a Target store when it ruled that the plaintiff failed to show that the company had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition that caused her injury.

The incident occurred when the plaintiff went to Target one morning to purchase a zipper. As she walked past the Starbucks store by the Target store’s entry, she slipped and fell. Plaintiff claimed that the floor was wet but Target showed evidence that the floor was not wet at the time of the incident and that an eyewitness said that she saw the Plaintiff’s shoe come off, causing her to fall.

The judge dismissed the case and reiterated the important elements of a slip and fall case, absent any of which may constitute an effective premises liability defense.

Essential Elements of Premises Liability

It is not enough for a person to be injured in one’s premises for the store owner or occupant to be liable for damages. In the state of California, anyone claiming to have suffered injuries on a slip and fall accident must be able to show the following:

  • Condition in the premises which caused the harm or risk of harm
  • Owner’s knowledge of the harmful condition
  • Failure of the owner to take reasonable steps to prevent the injury or to warn the public of the risks posed by the harmful condition
  • The owner’s failure to correct or warn against the harmful risk led to the plaintiff’s injuries
  • Knowledge of the dangerous condition can be actual or constructive. There is constructive knowledge when the owner should have known about the condition, even without actually observing it

Many accidents take place in stores and commercial establishments. While it is unfortunate for people to suffer from injuries while in the premises of another person, not all accidents are due to the fault of the owner or occupier of the property where the accident occurred. Some people may suffer accidents as a result of their own negligence or carelessness.

Due to the potential high costs of premises liability claims, small business owners and companies should not take these types of personal injury cases lightly. Enlisting the help of a premises liability defense attorney is important for assessing the claim against your business and weighing the evidence of negligence or fault that the plaintiff has against you.

In Modesto, California, business owners can turn to the law firm of Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin for premises liability defense. We have a combined experience of over 60 years in personal injury defense.

We welcome your call today at (209) 522-2211 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.