Q: Delivering groceries, I walked up the stairway and left it for at most five minutes. Going up, I had observed no banana peel. Going down, I slipped and fell on one. Do I have a case?
A: You have the burden of proof: photos are always of use. Liability may be imposed if the owner had actual notice of this banana peel or that time-after-time the stairway was littered. Liability may also be imposed if the banana peel was visible and had been there for a sufficient length of time prior to your accident to permit the owner’s employees to discover and remove it. No court will permit a jury to find that five minutes suffices to prove this constructive notice.
Perhaps you believe that you first saw no banana peel merely because the lighting was poor. If the theory is constructive notice, poor lighting does not excuse you from proving how long the peel had been there. A stronger theory might then be the owner’s negligence in lighting-up the stairs. You still have to bring proof of this darkness, too. Even if you do, the owner is sure to argue that you contributed to the negligence by assuming the risk of using those stairs.
There is also a question as to precisely why you believe that a banana peel was the cause. Suppose that, after the fall, a strip of banana skin was found adhering to your shoe. Suppose further that, just before entering the building, you had walked past a produce stand. The owner is sure to look for an expert witness who will give an opinion that you picked up the banana peel there.
In this or any other negligence case, your attorney’s job is to marshall all the evidence and to develop all the theories that you need to win. Your case may well be worth the effort.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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