Be Careful When You See a Floor Mat

Attorney Dennis SchaeferAuthor: Attorney Dennis Schaefer

Usually businesses will place floor mats in front of doors, or refrigerated displays when there is concern over water. It is obvious that the property owner knows there is an issue or could be an issue or they wouldn’t bother with the mats. The potential injured party must also be aware that the mats signal potential danger.

In a recent case a client walked into a mini-mart at a gas station. It was raining outside, the ground was wet and it was being tracked into the store. There was a mat on the floor near the door as you entered. However the mat had shifted and was now twelve to eighteen inches from the door. When our client walked in her first step was on the floor between the door and the shifted mat. She immediately went down severely injuring herself.

It was a battle over fault or liability. The store said it was her fault, we of course said it was there fault. Ultimately a compromise was reached which allowed for a settlement. This compromise is called a comparative negligence claim. The fault or liability being apportioned between the two parties.

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