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

March 24, 2023
Accidents happen every day, in many different ways. Most of the time, these accidents are minor and not too serious, but sometimes they lead to a slip and fall. When this happens, you need to know who is responsible and what they need to do after the accident.

When a person has been injured on the business' property or while at work, the premises is considered liable for the injuries sustained by that person.

This is called 'premises liability.' If there was negligence on behalf of the store (such as failing to clean up spilled water), then it may be held accountable if someone suffers an injury due to their negligence.

Under Texas law, the simple fact that you slipped, fell, tripped, 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.

To be negligent means a person failed to use ordinary care.

When applied to the owner of a business, the question presented to the business owner 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?"

Water on the floor with a wet floor sign and employee carrying a bucket.

Texas Courts have constructed this question into 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 have 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 may say the liquid looked like it had been on the floor a long time, but the courts have held statements of the like to be insufficient evidence. You must have witnesses or another form of confirmation 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.

Woman pushing a shopping cart in a grocery store.

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.

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?

  • Identify what the substance is and where you believe it came from.
  • Do not leave the premises until you have reported the incident to a store employee or manager.
  • 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 the 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.

The lawyers of Stanley and Associates 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 know have been seriously injured in a store, in an oil field accident, or in a construction accident - call Stanley and Associates. Call 844-227-9739 for more information.

Our Attorneys Fight for Maximum Compensation

Portrait of Attorney Jacob Hughey

Jacob s. hughey

Attorney and Partner

Jacob is a compassionate, no-nonsense personal injury attorney. Rest assured, he will fight for the best outcome possible for your injuries.

Portrait of Attorney Dustin Brown

Dustin C. Brown

Attorney and Partner

Dustin practices law for the individual because people need a strong voice in their corner.

Why Choose Stanley & Associates?

Over a Decade of Combined Experience

Our firm provides its clients with knowledgeable, personalized representation in the following practice areas: Auto Accidents, Work Accidents, Dog Bites, Premises Liability (slip and fall cases), and more.

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We know that money is a big deciding factor when choosing an attorney, which is why we don't take payments from our clients up-front. We only get paid when YOU get paid!

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