The plaintiff entered the defendant’s grocery store as a customer looking to purchase produce. While walking toward the check out area, the plaintiff’s foot made contact with several crushed grapes on the floor. She was caught off guard by the grapes and unable to prevent herself from falling to the ground. While lying on the floor, the plaintiff made another observation. She noticed that the floor surrounding the crushed grapes that she tripped on had become extremely slick due to other crushed grapes. The plaintiff also noted that the grocery store had not placed a mat or any other type of slip-resistant protection in the area to protect customers from this safety hazard.
The store manager immediately came to the assistance of the plaintiff and helped her move to a chair. Then, the store manager called for an ambulance on behalf of the plaintiff. The plaintiff experienced severe pain in her left hip, and after the emergency medical personnel stabilized the plaintiff, she was transported to Whidden Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.
The following day, the plaintiff was told she needed to replace her left hip as a result of the fall. She agreed to the procedure and underwent a total replacement of her left hip that day.
The plaintiff filed a claim against the grocery store to recover compensation for her injuries. The defense argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove reasonable notice as to the existence of the grapes. This means the defense did not believe the plaintiff had evidence to prove that the grapes had been on the floor long enough for the store manager or another employee to notice them. The plaintiff’s counsel did not agree with this conclusion. Instead, the plaintiff countered that the sheer proximity of the grapes to the grocery’s check-out area provided ample opportunity by the defendant for examination of the floor well in advance of the plaintiff’s fall. The plaintiff further argued that the manner in which the grapes were displayed played a significant role in the accumulation of the grapes on the floor. If the store’s employees had been more careful when setting the display, the grapes would not have fallen on the floor and created a safety hazard.
The case was settled during pretrial negotiations between the plaintiff’s counsel and the defendant’s insurer. The plaintiff was awarded $137,500 for her injuries.
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