Stumbling Blocks

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Q: Walking through a toy store, glancing at a flyer, I turned a corner.  Entering the aisle, I suddenly tripped over a box of children’s blocks, half open, and fell.  While on the floor, I observed three such boxes near me on the aisle floor.  Those boxes were also displayed along lower shelves in that aisle.

A: Essentially, either the store left the boxes on the floor, or customers did.  Stores sometimes display larger items on the floor, such as perhaps these boxes.  Or, when there are too many items to fit on the shelves, stores sometimes put the items in the aisle.  On the other hand, customers often put items where they don’t belong, like on the floor.

To the extent that the evidence indicates that the store left the boxes there, then your attorney will argue that the store created the dangerous condition.  To the extent that the proof points to customers, then he or she will argue that the store should have noticed this.  Notice to the store can be actual or ‘constructive’.  Constructive notice requires a showing that the condition was visible and apparent and existed for a sufficient period of time prior to the accident to permit a defendant to discover it and take corrective action.

Proof of regular inspections and maintenance of the area in question including an inspection and any remedial action just prior to the accident is ordinarily sufficient to satisfy a defendant’s burden of showing no notice of a dangerous condition.  However, it is often difficult for a defendant to prove that it had inspected the area just prior to the accident.  It always helps to have photographs.  Good luck.

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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