Slip-and-fall Victim sues over ‘unknown’ liquid on floor

A contractor who slipped and injured himself while working on-site at a jewelry store could hold the store accountable for his injuries even if the store didn’t know that there was a slippery substance on the floor, the California Court of Appeal recently decided.

The contractor claimed he slipped on jewelry cleaning solution that someone else had spilled on the floor of the employee break room.

In California and many states, the general rule is that a store isn’t responsible for something slippery spilled on a floor unless the store knew about the problem – or had readon to know- and didn’t do anything about it. So, for instance, if a customer spills juice on the floor of a grocery store, and 15 seconds later another customer slips on it, the sotre probably won’t be responsible because it couldn’t reasonably be expected to have discovered the problem and fixed it in that time.

In this case, the jewelry store claimed it had no knowledge of the spilled cleaning liquid.

But the court said that this case was different because the spill was in the employee break room. That meant that a store employee, not a customer, was responsible for the spill.

And while a store isn’t responsible for problems caused by customers unless it knows about them, a store is responsible for the careless acts of its employees whether the management knows about them or not, the court said.