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Restaurants put them near the front door after it rains. Supermarkets put them up as they mop up a spill. And, commercial buildings have them stashed away somewhere too. Wet floor signs are the first warning sign that the risk for a slip-and-fall accident is present. These signs are not just a warning sign to passersby, but they also shield the business of liability for an accident.
Slip and Fall Accidents
The state of Texas has strict laws concerning the safety of both commercial and residential properties. These laws are known as Premises Liability Law and are meant to hold property owners accountable for the failure to fix or warn an individual about the potential dangers that are on their property, including slippery surfaces.
The most common of slip-and-fall accidents, which occur due to unmarked wet floors, lead to numerous injuries every year. These injuries can range from neck injuries, broken bones or bruises, to serious spinal cord injuries.
When Is a Warning Adequate Under Texas Law?
Under Texas law, the injured party needs to be able to prove that the owner of the property had the following:
- Prior knowledge of the potentially harmful condition of his or her property.
- Conditions that presented an unreasonable risk of harm (this could be a wet floor or a broken railing for stairs).
- Failure to take the necessary steps to ensure that the risk of an accident was reduced. (Like putting up a wet floor sign).
- Failure led to the accident which caused injuries and damages to the invitee (plaintiff).
An Example Case:
Slip-and-fall cases in the state of Texas can be extremely tricky. This is especially true concerning commercial properties and wet floor signs. In the Gregory Sanchez v. Stripes LLC and Stripes Convenience Store Case in April 2017, the wet floor sign used by the convenience store came under question.
In this case, the plaintiff entered the convenience store and headed to the restroom. A wet floor sign was posted outside of the entryway to the restroom as an employee was mopping the floor. The plaintiff stepped around the wet floor to use the restroom. He noted that when he entered the restroom, the floor outside of the door was dry. As the plaintiff was in the restroom, the employee mopped the floor outside of the restroom door.
The employee moved the sign for a moment to mop the floor and then immediately put it back when he was through and went on to continue his work. The plaintiff left the restroom where he fell outside of the entryway where the floor had just been mopped.
The plaintiff sustained minor injuries and then sued the company for failure to provide adequate warning for the fall. He claimed the floor was not wet when he entered the restroom and was wet when he left. The judge and the appellate court ruled as follows:
- The defendant did give adequate warning of the potential danger. The plaintiff saw the sign and saw the employee mopping the floor.
- It was the plaintiff who failed to heed the warning of the sign and the employee mopping.
- Also, the condition of the floor and the potential danger was open and obvious, as there was an employee mopping the floor as the plaintiff entered the restroom.
In this case, the defendant did everything necessary to warn the plaintiff of the potential danger. However, this might not apply to all slip-and-fall cases. Sometimes, the defendant truly is negligent in his or her duty to protect the individuals who come onto their premises. In these cases, you want a strong law firm behind you.
Hernandez Law Group Has Amarrillo’s Back
For the individuals of Amarillo, Texas, the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. ensures that they get the compensation they deserve from an accident that was caused by negligence. Don’t let a property owner make you feel like the guilty party for a slip-and-fall accident you couldn’t possibly see happening. Instead, turn to the law firm that will fight hard for you! Our team is led by Juan Hernandez, who is one of the 2% of Texas Personal Injury Attorneys who is Texas Board Certified for Personal Injury Law. With knowledge comes power and with power, it is our responsibility and pleasure to ensure you and your family are protected. Contact our team today to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.