In some Alabama slip-and-fall cases, defendants may argue that they should not be held liable because the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injuries was obvious. In those cases, courts look at each party’s evidence concerning whether a hazard was perceived or should have been perceived by the plaintiff.
In a recent case, a McDonald’s restaurant argued before the Alabama Supreme Court that a wet floor was an open and obvious hazard. In that case, the plaintiff slipped and fell at a McDonald’s and sued the restaurant for his injuries. The man fell after he left the restroom and was walking toward the counter. The plaintiff left the restaurant after the fall but then began experiencing pain in his back and left leg, and he went back to discuss the incident with the manager. Surveillance footage showed an employee mopping the floor in front of the counter and placing a warning sign that the floor was wet. The plaintiff stated that his fall occurred outside the surveillance footage areas and was not shown on camera.
The restaurant argued that the fall was caused by an open and obvious danger because it was obvious that the floor had just been mopped, and there was a warning sign indicating as much. However, the Court found that based on the plaintiff’s affidavit, the plaintiff did not fall on the water near the counter, but instead on a “slick spot” outside the restroom.