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Gas Station Slip And Fall Case

March 26, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Personal Injury Accidents Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Gas Station Slip And Fall Case

Question: While stopped at a gas station I used their restroom. After washing my hands I retrieved a towel from the towel dispenser. As I was walking to throw it into the trash I slipped and fell. As this fall happened I yelled out a few choice words very loudly. When I walked around the corner, a maintenance employee was standing by the opening of the ladies bathroom. There also was a customer in the doorway of the men’s bathroom. They both were looking into the doorway of the ladies as I came around the corner. I then told the employee that there was water in the floor and I just fell. There were no wet floor signs anywhere near the restrooms. My husband was waiting for me outside so I went to him and told him I was going to be a minute and explained the situation. I returned into the store and as I did I saw another employee and asked if she was a manager. She replied "no, he’s on lunch, is there anything I can do for you". I asked her to accompany me to the restroom to verify the water. When we got to the restroom approximately 5 minutes after the incident, the maintenance employee was already attempting to clean the water up. Both the employees and I noticed there was an abundant amount of water. The first employee noticed the water was pouring out of the wall so she went and got her manager and informed him of the situation. We then went to his office and filled out an incident report and I informed him of the possibility of me being pregnant. I then went to the emergency room for treatment. The doctor said I have a lot of bruising and that he didn’t see anything on the x-rays as of then and for me to follow up in a week if the pain doesn’t subside. This is not my first injury to the parts that were injured. The first injury was 7 years ago and was on the job. Before the first incident I had no problems. I have a frozen shoulder, back problems, neck problems, severe migraines and had Chiari Malformation type II surgery. Do I have a reasonable suit against this gas station or is it fighting a losing battle? What would a reasonable price be? Should I get an attorney to help resolve this and do you know a good one ?

Answer: The short answers to your questions are:

1.  Do I have a reasonable suit against the gas station?  probably yes;

2.  What would a reasonable price be?  no idea, in most states it depends on the extent of your injuries, medical bills, wage loss, and damages for pain and suffering;

3.  Should I get an attorney to help resolve this?  absolutely.

Please keep in mind, your email doesn’t say where you are from. Laws vary from state to state. I am in Florida, so I will try to give you a general perspective, but check with somebody in your area to get specific information about the laws in your state.

Generally, the owner of a gas station owes two duties to its customers – to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn its customers of dangerous conditions that the customers cannot appreciate themselves.  In order for a property owner to be responsible for a slip and fall case due to water on the floor, the water must have existed on the floor for enough time that the owner or staff from the gas station knew, or should have known, the water was there, i.e. and had a chance to clean it up or at least put out a warning sign letting the customers know of the water.  You or your attorney will have to explore the facts of your slip and fall case to see whether you can meet this standard.

Assuming the water was there for a long enough time for someone at the gas station to do something about it, you have a claim against the owner/management of the gas station.  Any claim you would make would include a claim for past and future medical bills, and for past and future pain and suffering.  You most likely won’t know the full amount of your damages until you have a better handle on the extent that your previous injuries were aggravated by this incident.  In Florida, we have a specific jury instruction which deals with aggravating a pre-existing injury.

You should speak with an attorney who would specialize in a slip and fall case in your area to get the claim going.  One of the first things you want to do is verify the type and amount of insurance coverage the gas station carries. Most likely, a gas station is going to carry "medical payments" coverage which will allow up front money to pay for your out of pocket medical expenses.

Also, an experienced slip and fall case lawyer is going to know the laws in your area and how best to proceed.  Most slip and fall lawyers handle cases on a contingent basis which means if the lawyer does not recover any money for your claim, there is no charge for costs or attorney’s fees.

If you are in the South Florida area, please give me a call at (866) 556-5529.  I have been specializing in personal injury claims including slip and fall cases for 16 years.  If you’re in an area other than South Florida, I can probably still refer you to an experienced slip and fall attorney in your area.

For more information about a slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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