So last week we had one of the worst rain storms in memory. I had terrible flashbacks of the multiple times my Evanston house flooded years ago.
When it rains like that or even when it snows, it’s common for people to drag water in to stores and buildings. And when that happens, it’s common for people to fall.
One caller to my office busted open his head when he slipped after walking in to his apartment building. There were no wet floor signs nor was there any carpeting or mat laid down. To make matters worse, his complex has four buildings and in the other three there was carpeting to help soak up some of the water and protect people from falling. They also had wet floor signs. He’s injured and mad and wanted to sue.
Unfortunately he has no case. When people drag water in to a building, generally speaking the building owner does not have liability for slip and falls that occur. While morally they should take precautions, legally they don’t have to have someone there 24/7 cleaning up the floors. It would be too cost prohibitive for many people.
Had the rain leaked through a roof it would be a different story. But when it’s raining outside and people bring in the water on their shoes, building owners aren’t liable.
I don’t necessarily agree with this law, but one thing is that I will never tell you what you want to hear and will always tell the truth. The reality is that the insurance industry has a strong lobby and they’ve gotten many stringent slip and fall laws passed.
All of this said, don’t assume you have no case without talking to a lawyer first. There are often exceptions and loopholes and of course it doesn’t cost anything to call our office and ask questions. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up either.
Written by Michael Helfand