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Should a store owner have known about a dangerous condition?

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2021 | Premises liability |

One of the most common defenses that a store owner will use when someone is injured is to say that they didn’t know the condition existed. They would have fixed it, but it’s not their fault because they were unaware. 

There are cases where this makes sense. For instance, if a slick floor is caused by a spill that happened a few minutes before, the store owner may have no idea that the aisle needs to be cleaned. If the next shopper to come down the aisle slips and falls, the owner can rightfully say that they had no way to correct that condition. They’re just as surprised it existed as the person who fell. 

However, this line of thinking does not always hold up. 

How long had it been there?

Perhaps the biggest question is simply how long the dangerous condition existed. If it had been an issue for so long that the owner should have known, they might still be liable. Their ignorance is not just a lack of knowledge but evidence of negligence. 

For example, maybe the slick floor was created by a leak in a pipe. It’s been leaking for days. The owner may claim they didn’t know, but that just shows that they aren’t doing proper cleaning or maintenance. They should have cleaned up the water, fixed the pipe, turned off the water or at least put up warning signs. They cannot neglect their property and then claim they didn’t know there was an issue when someone gets injured. 

If you are injured in such a case, you need to know how to pursue proper compensation




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