Personal Injury Lawyer
A federal judge in Pennsylvania has just ruled that a slip and fall case against Dollar Tree can move forward because there is enough available evidence, reports the Legal Intelligencer (https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2019/03/19/judge-oks-slip-and-fall-lawsuit-alleging-dollar-tree-was-on-notice-about-detergent-spill/).
Dollar Tree had filed a motion in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for a summary judgment—in this case, a request that the case is handled without a trial because it has no factual basis—in a personal injury case brought by Gregory Nelson. However, U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky ruled that Nelson’s lawsuit can move forward.
According to the written opinion of Judge Slomsky, 57-year-old Nelson suffered a slip and fall when he stepped on spilled laundry soap at a Dollar Tree store in Sharon Hill back in September of 2016. He ended up falling forward and suffered serious and permanent injuries to his lower back, knees, legs and one hip as a result of the accident.
According to Nelson’s testimony, after he fell and was being attended to by first responders, he heard a cashier at the Dollar Tree tell the police and an emergency responder that another customer had complained about the spill to staff about ten minutes before Nelson fell. However, no one secured the area or cleaned it after being notified. Nelson then sued the store, alleging that the company had failed in its obligation to keep the store in a safe condition for its customers.
Dollar Tree argued against this part of Nelson’s testimony, saying that it was hearsay because Nelson overheard it and therefore not admissible in court. Judge Slomsky did not agree with the Dollar Tree’s argument in this case.
Judge Slomsky, in his written option, said the statement of the other customer in the Dollar Tree—the one who told the cashier there was detergent on the floor before Nelson fell on it—does not fall under the hearsay-ban rule because it can be taken as one of two things: a statement that proves Dollar Tree knew about the soap or a statement from someone speaking freely in the moment (known as a “present sense impression.”) The judge also ruled that the statement given by a Dollar Tree employee to first responders and the police is admissible in this case.
The judge concluded that since there is a statement from the Dollar Tree cashier, whether the store knew about the spill and failed to do anything about within a reasonable time frame is still in question. Because of this, Nelson’s case can now move forward.
A slip and fall accident can cause long-lasting injuries, pain, and suffering, as in Nelson’s case. When a business, person or organization fails to keep their property safe and a secure and lawful visitor there gets hurt, they can be held accountable for the losses, pain, and injuries suffered by the visitor.
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident while legally on the property of someone else, you have rights and may be entitled to compensation. Speak to an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer about what happened as soon as you can.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and slip and fall accidents.