A Newport News U.S. District Court has decided that a Kroger store will not get summary judgment on its defense of contributory negligence connected to a personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who slipped and fell on a small puddle of water near the store’s exit, injuring her wrist and leg, reports Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
The plaintiff argues that after she fell, a Kroger employee assisted her and apologized for the accident, telling her that the site of the fall had been a “problem area.” The employee then said that while he had not spotted any water in that area on that particular day, the roof in that part of the store was known to leak during heavy rain.
Video footage taken from a security camera shows that there is a yellow cone placed a few feet inside the security scanners and sliding door entrance to the Kroger store’s produce section. A rubber floor mat also sits between the scanners. Photos taken after the victim’s fall show that there was pooled water in front of the right scanner and to the right of the mat, which is about where the victim fell.
After the victim’s fall, another customer enters and notices the wet floor, proceeding to look up at the leaking roof and then maneuvering around the wet area. The plaintiff then returns with an employee who positions a small trashcan to the right of where the victim fell. He repositions the yellow cone into the general area of the fall, and adds another trashcan.
The court decided that a reasonable juror could come to the conclusion that the store held actual or constructive notice of the problem area that caused the victim’s fall. The plaintiff was able to provide evidence that Kroger knew that their roof leaked during heavy rain, and that they knew it was raining heavily on the day of the accident but did not take steps to prevent such an accident from occurring.
While there was a yellow safety cone in place, the undisputed testimony is that the cone was placed there to warn customers of possibly slippery conditions as a result of tracked-in water from the outside. It remains to be seen whether the wet floor constituted an open and obvious condition. The jury will decide the question of contributory negligence.
We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.
The Parrish Law Firm personal injury lawyers works with northern Virginia residents who have been injured by another party’s negligence. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.