Appeals Court Split on Slip and Fall Case
Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury claim in which a customer allegedly his lost his leg in a fall at a retail store has split the Georgia Court of Appeals, according to the Daily Report.
Two judges upheld a decision from another court to throw the lawsuit out, but the panel’s third member partially dissented, writing that the case should be heard by a jury in his decision.
In the words of the victim in this case, Denis Weickert, he was trying to get in and out of the store quickly when he walked into a garden center at Home Depot in May of 2014. He had visited the store many times previously, and on that particular day, he was looking for a timer for his sprinkler. He asked an employee by the cashier area for help immediately, and the cashier began walking and asked him to follow, which he did. However, the employee walked through a pool of water on the ground. Within just five or ten steps, Weickert began to slip in that same pool of water on the floor from the employees watering the store’s plants. He ended up landing on his right leg, which was broken so badly in the fall that it was ultimately amputated.
Weickert then sued Home Deport for his damages, which included lost wages and medical costs related to his injuries. Weickert argued that he did not see the water on the floor because he was distracted by trying to follow the cashier at the time. Home Depot requested summary judgment – a finding that there is no cause for the lawsuit filed – in court, arguing that the caution signs were up and the water was clearly visible, and a judge at the state court level granted the judgment to Home Depot and dismissed Weickert’s lawsuit, which he then appealed.
All three appeal judges agreed that the Home Depot employees were aware of the water and put up warning signs that Weickert would be able to see. Where the dissent has come in stems from the “distraction doctrine,” which is a legal concept that says a person is responsible for noticing obvious hazards unless his or her attention has been diverted necessarily at the time. Two judges on the appeal panel found that the employee was not a sufficient distraction to Weickert, while the dissenting judge felt that was something a jury should decide, particularly whether Home Depot should have anticipated that a person following an employee at that employee’s request would be distracted enough to miss the pool of water on the floor.
The legal representation for Weickert is already working on his next appeal; they plan to ask the state’s Supreme Court to review this recent decision.
Even what sounds like a simple slip and fall can leave a person with lifelong injuries, losses, pain, and suffering. If you have been injured in a slip and fall, contact an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer about your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses and suffering.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and slip and fall accidents.
Posted on February 15, 2019 @ 9:09 am