Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case Dismissed for Lack of Causation Despite Expert Testimony

In order to establish liability in a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must present evidence that the defendant landowner’s negligence caused their injuries. While causation can be inferred from the facts of some slip-and-fall cases, other cases require expert testimony to assist the judge or jury in understanding why the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries.In a recent case, a court dismissed a plaintiff’s slip-and-fall case for lack of causation, even though she presented the testimony of an expert who claimed that the floor where the plaintiff fell constituted a dangerous hazard because it was not up to industry standards for slip resistance.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was shopping at the defendant grocery store when she slipped and fell in the bakery area of the store. The plaintiff testified that she did not see anything on the floor prior to her fall or after her fall. However, when filling out the incident report after the fall, she described feeling as though she stepped in something slippery. A store employee who came to the plaintiff’s aid did not notice anything on the floor but did take note of the fact that the plaintiff was wearing three-inch heels.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store. In response, the store filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it had no indication that there was a hazard on the floor that required cleaning and that there was no visible substance on the floor after the plaintiff’s fall.

The plaintiff presented an expert witness, who testified that the slip-resistant rating of the store’s flooring was not up to industry standards. The expert stated that the floors would be very slippery when oil or water was present and that the plaintiff’s fall was consistent with slipping on a wet surface. Ultimately, the expert considered the flooring to be a dangerous hazard and the cause of the plaintiff’s fall.

The court, however, disagreed with the plaintiff and her expert. The court explained that the expert’s testimony only established that the flooring may have been below industry standards when it was wet. However, there was no testimony – through the plaintiff, her expert, or the evidence presented at trial – that the floor was actually wet. Thus, the court determined that the store was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while visiting the property of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. As the above case illustrates, although these cases may seem straightforward, often complex issues arise. The dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience handling all types of slip-and-fall cases and work relentlessly to pursue compensation for their clients. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Applies “Sudden Emergency Doctrine” in Recent Truck Accident Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 17, 2018

Plaintiff Who Was Bitten by Spider Permitted to Pursue Claim Against Restaurant, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, August 7, 2018


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