Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case brought by a customer of a grocery store after she fell in one of the store’s aisles. The court discussed an important issue that frequently arises in New Mexico slip-and-fall lawsuits.
The Facts of the Case
The case stemmed from an accident that occurred about six years ago at a grocery store. The plaintiff was shopping at a grocery store with her husband when she went to use the restroom. As she was returning, she slipped on a brownish liquid and was immobilized as a result of the fall. At the same time, a store employee was mopping up similar liquid in an adjacent aisle. The plaintiff’s husband stated that, coincidentally, he noticed one of the bottles in his cart was leaking.
The store manager testified that the bottles in the plaintiff’s cart arrived at the store and were then transported to pallets. After that, the bottles were taken out of the shrink-wrap in which they arrived, and they were inspected by the store manager to verify the number and quality. Store policy requires that if an employee sees a spill, the employee must stand at the spill until they can get the attention of a maintenance person to clean it up.
Following the accident, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the grocery store, alleging negligence, failure to warn, breach of contract, mode of operation, and breach of warranties.
Procedural History and Holding
The defendant filed for summary judgment on the negligence claim and said that it was not liable because it did not know and could not have known about the dangerous condition. The store argued that the spill did not exist for a sufficient amount of time for them to remedy the situation.
The plaintiffs contested the motion, arguing that the defendants certainly knew of the spill because a store employee was cleaning up the mess, and there was no question about the defectiveness of the bottle. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the negligence matter.
The plaintiffs appealed, arguing that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding the defendant’s knowledge of the spill. The plaintiff produced evidence of her fall and depositions from the store’s employees that led the court to find that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding the store’s knowledge of the spill. Ultimately, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision to grant the defendant’s motion and remanded the case for further proceedings.
New Mexico Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits
In order for New Mexico plaintiffs to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, they must be able to establish the duty owed by the defendant, a breach of that duty, and the actual or proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Generally, for slip-and-fall cases, the plaintiff must be able to show that there was an unsafe condition, and the defendant was aware or should have been aware of this condition. Furthermore, the defendant should have been given sufficient time to remedy the situation that caused the injury.
Have You Been Injured in a Slip-and-Fall Accident in New Mexico?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Mexico slip-and-fall accident, you should contact the dedicated and experienced attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm can help you navigate this complex area of the law and ensure that you are following all of the necessary statutes of limitations and procedural requirements. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. Contact the law firm to schedule your free initial consultation at 800-640-6590.
More Blog Posts:
Appellate Court Remands Case in Plaintiff’s Favor in Recent Premises Liability Action, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 23, 2017.
Court Finds Plaintiff Waived Challenge to Jury’s Verdict By Failing to Object, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 6, 2018.