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THE CASE OF THE BROWN BANANA! We get calls from potential clients who have been customers of stores when they encountered foreign objects on the floor which caused them to fall. A perfect example would be a grape on the floor in the produce section of a grocery store. The unwitting customer steps on the grape, slides, and down they go! These cases usually involve a customer who is looking at all the product around them and they do not notice the object/substance on the floor. In the legal business this is called a "slip and fall" case. This term refers to the fact that an individual who is walking encounters a foreign substance (or raised sidewalk, or hole), and somehow ends up stumbling/slipping, and falling. Injuries follow and clients want to know if they have a good case. The title above suggests part of the answer. The insurance company will ask you to prove not only was the banana on the floor, but has it been there long enough to turn brown. This means the injured person has to be able to prove to a jury that the object had been on the floor for an extended period of time. That period of time has to be long enough that the store had a reasonable chance to find it, protect against it, or warn about its presence on the floor. Basically, a store gets reasonable time to clean up the substance on the floor. The same is true with removing snow from a sidewalk: you get a reasonable amount of time to act before you are responsible for failing to act. When you think about a slip and fall case with a foreign substance on the floor ask yourself this question, "Can I prove how long that object was on the floor?" If you can, you may have a case. Other things that would be very helpful to any case are to identify any witnesses, and take photographs of the substance on the floor. Further, if physical evidence exists, such as stains on your pants, or smudges on a shoe, be sure to preserve that as well. The best thing to do is call and discuss the details of your case with us. There might be other angles such as surveillance videotape that would show what really happened. However, bear in mind these cases can be very tough and have to be aggressively investigated. Here are some of the typical examples of factual situations where these principles come into play. • grapes or produce on a grocery store floor, • toys in the aisle, • liquids on the floor, • falls in grocery stores, • falls in department stores, • falls on sidewalks.


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Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, L.L.P.

Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, L.L.P.
1415 Grand Ave.
West Des Moines, IA 50265

Phone: 515-421-8825
Fax: 515-223-4121
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