100% Free Consultation 903-597-6000

I slipped and fell in a store. Is the store responsible for my medical bills?

Nov 13, 2014 - Slip and Fall by

It depends. Under Texas law, the simple fact that you slipped or fell or otherwise got injured in a store or other business does not mean the business is automatically liable for your damages. You must prove that the business or premises owner did something wrong or was negligent. Negligence means the failure to use ordinary care. When applied to the owner of a business, the question is “did the business owner use ordinary care in inspecting and keeping his premises safe from dangers that he knew of or in the exercise of ordinary care should have known of?”

In Texas, it is really a two prong test. The first question is “was there an unreasonably dangerous condition on the business premises?” Note that the law requires that the condition be unreasonably dangerous. If the condition is simply dangerous, then no matter what, the premises owner is not liable. The condition must pose an unreasonable risk or must be unreasonably dangerous to the ordinary consumer.

The second prong is that the store owner must know of the condition or had the opportunity to inspect his premises and find the condition. This is probably the most important and most difficult part of establishing liability.

If you are walking down the aisle of a grocery store and slip in water or some other liquid and fall and injure yourself, that does not make the store owner liable. You have to prove that the liquid, or water that you slipped on, was on the floor long enough that the store owner should have had time to see it and clean it up.

This is where most injured consumers lose their claim in court. They know they fell in a liquid, but they have no idea how long that liquid was there. They could say the liquid looked like it had been on the floor a long time, but the courts have held that as not evidence. You must have some witness or something to confirm that the liquid was on the floor long enough that a careful business owner would have discovered the condition.

It is rare that you’re going to find somebody who is in a store for 20-30 minutes or even an hour who can say that they came across a liquid while in the store and then came back an hour later when you fell, and the liquid was still there. Since the consumer cannot prove how long a liquid was on the floor, the store owner usually wins these claims.

With technology, however, this is now changing. Most stores have security cameras that are in the store 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, always watching the stores, the customers, and the floors. If there is a spill on the floor, the security cameras will catch it, and the video can tell the consumer and a jury how long the liquid was there and how long the store owner had to clean it up.

So, if you’re injured in a store because of an unreasonably dangerous condition in the store such as a wet floor, spill, or other condition… what should you do?

  • If you are able to, identify what the substance is and where you believe it came from.
  • Make sure you notify a store employee of the condition.
  • Make sure the manager is notified and that you complete an incident report.
  • If there are any witnesses, try and get their names and telephone numbers.
  • Notify management of the store that if there is security video of the incident, you want them to secure that video for the hour prior to your fall. Requesting the surveillance video is extremely important. Most security systems will record over themselves. If you fail to notify the store that you wish for them to preserve this evidence, then the incident could be taped over and the evidence lost forever.
  • If you are hurt, get immediate medical attention, and make sure you get the appropriate treatment for all of your injuries. Treatment will help you get better and document your injuries.

For nearly 30 years, the partners and lawyers of Roberts and Roberts have fought to protect Texans and consumers from unsafe products, dangerous work conditions, unsafe job sites, and unreasonably dangerous premises. If you, or someone you now, have been seriously injured in a store, in an oil field accident, or a construction accident – call Roberts and Roberts. The call costs you nothing… it could mean everything.

About The Author

Free, Confidential Case Review

Find out how we can help you. Get started now by filling out the form below or by calling (903) 597-6000. Your case review is free and confidential.

Contact Us (Standard)
Your Name
Your Name

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Are Featured in the Top 100 Personal Injury Trial Lawyers Our Personal Injury Attorneys Have Been Texas Super Lawyers for Decades Our Personal Injury Attorneys Have Been Recipients of the Mult-Million Dollar Advocates Award for Personal Injury Lawyers

From one former client:
"I am so happy to have chosen the best law firm around. The staff is amazing in handling your questions promptly. I hope I don't ever need them again, but if I do, there is no question I will be back. Thank y'all so much for helping me." - Heather N.