Court Rejects Restaurant’s Claim That Wet Floor Constituted an Open and Obvious Danger

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.

Wet FloorIn 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.

The Court explained that the restaurant did not provide any evidence to show that the slick spot outside the restroom was an open and obvious danger. The restaurant did not claim that it had recently mopped the area immediately outside the restroom, and it provided no other evidence indicating that the danger was open and obvious.

In a second appeal, the restaurant argued that the plaintiff’s testimony was unreliable. However, the court explained that those arguments could have been raised in the first appeal, and therefore, the arguments were not addressed in the second appeal. The court again sent the case back to the trial court, allowing the case to move forward against the restaurant.

Open and Obvious Dangers

In a premises liability case, a hazard that is open and obvious generally does not give rise to liability against the landowner. In an Alabama premises liability case, a premises owner does not have a duty to warn an invitee of open and obvious dangers of which the invitee is aware, or should be aware if exercising reasonable care. Alabama courts have explained that the question is not whether the plaintiff appreciated the hazard, but whether the danger should have been observed.

Contact the Reeves Law Firm

If you have suffered an injury due to an Alabama slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The Reeves Law Firm is here to help you seek justice for your loss of quality of life and economic income. You should not be liable for the damage caused by someone else’s negligence. The Reeves Law Firm focuses on obtaining fair compensation for accident victims in Decatur and Huntsville, along with the rest of Alabama and Tennessee. Attorney Greg Reeves can help you pursue fair compensation for your accident-related injuries. Call us today at 256-355-3311 for a free consultation.

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Does Failing to Wear a Seat Belt Affect an Alabama Victim’s Ability to Recover Damages?, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, March 14, 2018