Verdict Against Kroger in Gwinnett County Slip and Fall Case

Georgia law requires commercial and private property owners to maintain safe properties for people who are legally on the premises. Most properties are subject to safety codes or regulations requiring the property owner or manager to prevent negligent exposure to harmful or injurious situations. Premises liability claims may hold these property owners or managers liable when someone is injured due to hazardous, unsafe, or dangerous conditions.

If you have suffered a serious injury on someone else's property, a premises liability attorney at Shane Smith Law can review your accident and injuries to determine if you have a reasonable case against the property owner involved.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a Gwinnett County jury recently awarded $2.3 million to a slip-and-fall accident victim. The patron was shopping in the Douglasville Kroger when he slipped on a crushed banana and landed on his back.

The case was somewhat unique as the jury was not asked to determine whether Kroger had been negligent. Instead, it was presented with evidence that proved surveillance video in the store had captured the incident and had been destroyed.

After the shopper fell he was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and had back surgery, including having rods and screws inserted into his spine. The man's medical bills exceeded $135,000 and he was no longer able to work as a commercial landscaper.

Kroger initially claimed that the security camera footage had since been taped over pursuant to store policy. It claimed that such recordings are retained for 17 days before being taped over. The store also claimed that security cameras did not point in the direction of the accident. The plaintiff's attorney requested a demonstration of the store's security cameras and discovered that one pointed directly at the accident location. This would have shown when the fruit had fallen, how long it had been on the floor, and the accident's exact circumstances.

The judge found that Kroger had spoliated (destroyed) evidence and that it was liable for the patron's injuries. A trial was subsequently held, but the only issue for the jury was how much compensation Kroger owed. The jury awarded $700,000 for future pain and suffering, $200,000 for past pain and suffering, and over $675,000 in litigation expenses.

Slip-and-fall victims should call a Clayton County premises liability attorney at Shane Smith Law to schedule a free legal consultation.

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