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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.