Recently, a Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court in Richmonddismissed a personal injury lawsuitthat alleged injury from a fall in a WaWa parking lot after slipping on a lemon wedge.The Judge held that the plaintiff “failed to show the store had actual or constructive notice of a danger posed by debris in the parking lot.”In order to hold a business liable for injuries suffered in a tort case, evidence that the business had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition must be proven.In this case, the plaintiff needed to prove that WaWa knew or should have known that a lemon wedge was in their parking lot and posed a danger to anyone who came in contact with it.However, the plaintiff failed to show any evidence that WaWa knew about the lemon wedge.In fact, WaWa’s store manager said that his store does not even sell lemons or lemon wedges.WaWa employees also were not aware of any lemon wedge in the parking lot.
Defendant WaWa provided sworn affidavit supporting its contention that WaWa employees had actual or constructive knowledge of the alleged defect.Conversely, the plaintiff who slipped and fell on the lemon wedge offered no evidence beyond her “conclusory allegations” that WaWa had knowledge of the lemon in the parking lot.Since the plaintiff failed to meet her burden of showing a “genuine dispute of material fact,” the Judge found summary judgment for the defendant and the case was dismissed.
Typically, a slip and fall injury in Virginia occurs when someone slips, trips, or falls because of an unsafe or hazardous condition.A “good” slip and fall case occurs when a dangerous condition (i.e. water on the floor) exists in a place of business and a store employee had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition (i.e. customer tells manager about water in aisle 3).If the store employee knows about the dangerous condition and does nothing to eliminate the danger, the store is likely to be held liable.Another example where a business would likely be held liable for a slip and fall injury is if an employee’s job is to monitor grocery store aisles, he fails to do that job, and someone slips and falls on a puddle of water.In this example, the store employee should have known (constructive notice) about the spill assuming the water was on the floor for a significant period of time because his job was to make sure there were no dangerous conditions in the aisles.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall or has died as a result of their injury suffered in a Virginia accident, and would like more information, please call us at (703) 734-8790 to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation at one of our many offices located throughout Virginia, or visit us online at:http://www.portnerandshure.com/Personal-Injury/Premises-Liability.shtml