Old Oil

Q: One nice thing about my apartment building has always been the deli downstairs, in the commercial part of the building.  The commercial rear door is very close to the residential rear door.  Outside of each door, a few steps lead down to the parking lot.

A waste barrel is located between the two sets of steps.  Every week, the deli owner takes his used cooking oil from the kitchen to this barrel.  He carries this oil in a five-gallon container, which is uncovered.

The other day, on the outside steps at the residential door, I slipped on a wet, shiny, slippery, oily liquid.  It had a bad smell, like used old food and oil.  The owner claims that he last disposed of his oil around three days prior to my accident.

A: To prove a case of negligence here, you are required to show that the deli either created the oily condition or had actual or constructive notice of it.  Although your evidence may be wholly circumstantial, the law does not require that you positively exclude every other possible cause.

Instead, your proof simply must render any other cause sufficiently remote or technical to enable the jury to reach its verdict based upon the logical inferences to be drawn from the evidence, rather than upon mere speculation.

It appears that the negligence of the deli, and the causation of the accident by that negligence, may be reasonably inferred.  Even if the owner claims that he spilled no oil, it may be hoped that your attorney will rise to the challenge – of doing his or her best to discredit that self-serving testimony.

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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