If someone saw 10 jars of spaghetti sauce splattered on the floor but still chose to walk over it, falling to the ground, then this would be the person's own fault. Torts or negligence cases in Indiana use a doctrine called “comparative fault.”
Every individual has a duty to look out for his own safety. Therefore, even if a store does something wrong, the customer still has a duty to look out for his personal safety. In Indiana, a person would not receive any recovery if he were found more than 50 percent at fault.
However, if a customer was stuck in a puddle of 10 jars of spilled spaghetti sauce without a way to get out of that area except through the sauce. He called for help and a store clerk did not come to his assistance, and he ultimately tried to navigate that area and fell, then I would argue that the customer was using due care.
If a person was busy on his phone and walked right into the spaghetti sauce without realizing, then that person has a high degree of comparative fault. In Indiana, at least, he would probably receive nothing.
What Elements Make Up A Viable Case?
The case is always based on facts.
It's essential, for example, to determine how long a foreign transitory substance, such as water or something fallen off the shelf, was on the floor. Furthermore, other clues include tire tracks going through the liquid, areas that were dried up, or prior complaints and witnesses who declared that somebody did not clean the spill up properly.
One case in a grocery store went like this: somebody dropped a bottle of olive oil before the store opened. Although the staff had allegedly cleaned it up, my client took three steps through that area and fell baldy enough to injure her knee severely. It was shown that the store had notice of the problem but did not clean it up well. As such, she was able to receive recovery for her knee injury.
In another case, a client went to commercial premises after hours to drop something off in the night deposit box. There was no overhang in the area. Therefore, during the day the water from a snowstorm a few days earlier dripped off the roof. The water froze at night. The client stood on the slab and fell badly, becoming severely injured.
If Someone Sees A Hazard In A Store, Does He Have A Duty To Report It?
A person does not have a duty to report it.
However, this is different if someone had seen a hazard and not reported it, before hurting himself on the hazard three minutes later.
If someone was shopping in a grocery store and saw a problem but did not see a clerk to report it, and somebody came by 10 minutes later and hurt himself on it, then the initial person did not have a duty to notify the store.
Are Stores Who Always Watch, Walk The Floor, And Check Less Likely To Have Problems?
The stores that are much more conscientious are less likely to have these kinds of issues.
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