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Bullseye: Target held responsible for slip-and-fall incident

A woman successfully sued Target to the tune of $2.1 million recently after she slipped and fell in an aisle that had just been cleaned by Target employees. That is a simplified version of the story, though. The details show the complications that can arise after a slip and fall incident.

The woman walked into a Target store in 2013 just as a soda bottle spilled on the ground. In response to the spill, Target employees quickly cleaned it up and put down signs that warned customers of the wet surface. However, there were two problems with this process:

  • The soapy substance the Target employees used covered a significant area and had not dried up yet
  • The warning signs were not at the edge of the wet area, so there were slippery spots that extended beyond where the warning signs alerted people to avoid

As a result, the woman stepped on a slippery spot even though she thought it was a safe spot. She slipped and torn her hamstring right out of the hip socket, causing her immense pain. She needed surgery and a full body brace to immobilize her right leg.

A jury awarded her $1.4 million in past non-economic damages and $700,000 in future non-economic damages, making the grand total award of $2.1 million.

Those warning signs that stores put out are necessary, and they serve an important purpose. But if they are improperly implemented or used, they can be just as dangerous as having no signs out at all. Target was justifiably held responsible for their negligence.

Source: The Legal Intelligencer, "Target Dealt $2.1M Verdict in Slip-and-Fall Case," P.J. D'Annunzio, March 16, 2017

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