Trip to the Store
Q: Twenty feet from the supermarket, I tripped in the shopping center’s parking lot. As I lay on the ground, I noticed many crevices in that area – although I cannot specifically say precisely which crevice caused me to fall.
A: Real property must be maintained in a reasonably sale condition by its owner, or by a tenant in possession. The determinative factor is one of possession or control. Your lawyer will want to see the lease between the shopping center and the supermarket, to determine who is contractually responsible for the maintenance and repair of the parking lot. Even if the lease points to the shopping center, perhaps it is the practice of the supermarket to take responsibility – by inspecting the parking lot and calling its internal maintenance department with any complaints. After that, perhaps the maintenance department has a variable record as to whether it will then (a) notify the shopping center of the problem or (b) assign its own contractor to perform necessary repairs. Generally, both the shopping center and the supermarket will be named as defendants.
The defendants are likely to argue that your inability to identify which crevice prevents you from being able to prove that your accident was proximately caused by a defect for which they are responsible. Your attorney will reply that your recollection is sufficient to demonstrate a causal connection between the parking lot and your fall, and that you are not required to prove precisely which particular crevice caused your fall.
As always, it is best to have photographs showing the area of the accident, taken close enough in time that is unlikely that much has changed. Often the victim has no ability or mood to take photos, but a perceptive bystander will do so, or a wise friend or relative will come by soon. Photographs which accurately depict the area can help convince the jury that you know what you are talking about and that the defendants should have known about the defects.
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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