Inadequate inspection policies at a Dollar General Store resulted in serious injuries in a slip-and-fall accident in Alabama. That’s according to the findings of jurors in Alabama, who awarded the plaintiff $1.75 million in damages.
According to AL.com, the incident in question occurred four years ago at the retail chain store, where a customer, then 60, slipped on a clear liquid on the tile floor in the chemical aisle. That liquid was later determined to be laundry detergent. As a result of the fall, she sustained severe fractures to her leg and shoulders that necessitated eight surgeries. Additionally, she required nearly 400 doctor visits and incurred some $470,000 in medical bills.
The plaintiff was rendered permanently disabled as a result of the fall, according to her lawsuit.
This premises liability case ultimately came down to whether the store was conducting sufficient inspections of its property. Typically in these cases, there is no formula for exactly how many inspections have to be conducted at a given location, although there may be certain industry standards depending on the type of business. Businesses that invite patrons to their store for the purpose of collecting a profit owe the highest level of care to those patrons. That means not only taking care not to create dangerous situations and warning about those that do exist, but also conducting regular inspections to ensure no perilous conditions have arisen.
The store was reportedly open 14 hours daily, but corporate policy only required workers to spend 10 minutes every day carrying out safety provisions.
Evidence indicated these safety inspections were informal. There was no requirement to document the safety inspections or to have them verified by a supervisor. This was held up against the practice of other retailers in the same county, which conducted checks that were far more frequent and were formally overseen or checked by a supervisor. The plaintiff argued Dollar General’s practice of informally conducting visual checks for only 10 minutes every day was not sufficient to ensure customer safety.
This same company has faced a number of personal injury lawsuits this year. Another case in April resulted in a $1 million verdict in favor of a delivery driver who suffered a slip-and-fall injury.
In order to prove negligence in a South Carolina slip-and-fall lawsuit, plaintiffs have to prove:
- There was a duty of care owed by the defendant toward the plaintiff;
- The defendant breached that duty by some negligent omission or act; and
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a proximate result of that breach of duty.
Courts in South Carolina recognize four classifications of persons present on a given property. Those are adult trespassers, invitees, licensees, and children. Different standards of care are applicable depending on the classification of the plaintiff.
In the case of a customer who is at a store for the purpose of buying merchandise from the property owner or controller, the plaintiff is considered a business invitee. These individuals are owed the highest level of care.
If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury in South Carolina, our premises liability lawyers can help you ascertain whether you have grounds to pursue litigation and obtain compensation.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Alabama jury returns $1.725 million verdict against Dollar General in personal injury case, Sept. 22, 2016, By Prescotte Stokes III, AL.com
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Backover Accidents, Other Non-Traffic Crashes, Analyzed Now By NHTSA, Sept. 18, 2016, Spartanburg Slip-and-Fall Accident Lawyer