Kathy, a successful self employed business owner, suffered personal injury as the result of a dangerous condition at the premises of the Lowe’s garden center in Rolla Missouri. She often visits the garden center as she runs a landscaping company. It is common for there to be standing water, however, there was standing water that was different this day and there was no warning of the dangerous condition. When the plants are given food through a liquid solution it makes the water particularly slippery, much more so than typical standing water. Lowes failed to put up signs informing patrons of this condition and therefore Kathy had no notice of this condition despite the fact she knew she was stepping into standing water.
Upon stepping into this unmarked and dangerous condition Kathy fell and injured her knee and hamstring. Currently she is being treated for a torn meniscus cartilage in her knee, torn hamstring, and other injuries to her knee.
Personal injury lawyers know the issues presented by this case and many premise liability cases in Missouri are (1) Was there a dangerous condition, (2) notice of the condition, constructive or actual, (3) duty to make safe; (4) damages; and (5) comparative fault of the injured party, i.e. was the condition “open and obvious”. Particularly in this case the first defense reaction will be that she saw the water and knew she was stepping into it so she is partially at fault. Not the case here! This was not typical water, but water infused with plant food making it very slick as compared to normal standing water. This is a condition that Lowe’s generally marks with signs, but did not on this occasion.
In this case, Lowe’s breached their duty to inspect and make their premises safe for business customers (a higher duty than private property not for the operation of a business) by failing to mark a known dangerous condition that was not open and obvious as it appears to be regular water.
This is a case were I feel it is reasonable to demand payment based on Lowe’s being 100% at fault and not apportioning any fault to Kathy as the fact that water was there was open and obvious, but the nature of this water was not open and obvious.
In the past, Sansone & Lauber has recovered for many clients that have been injured as a result of unreasonably dangerous conditions on a business premises. For examples, see our sample verdicts.