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Premises liability: Did leaking roof cause slip-and-fall?

Nevada business owners may face lawsuits if they fail to maintain their premises in a manner that will not pose safety risks to members of the public. A premises liability lawsuit was recently filed against a Wal-Mart store in another state. The plaintiff, who filed in his personal capacity and also as the representative of his deceased wife's estate, alleges a 2014 slip-and-fall accident accelerated his wife's health decline and led to her death.

The complaint states that the couple arrived at the store on Feb. 5, 2014, to find several isles closed off and buckets placed strategically to catch water from the building's leaking roof. The plaintiff contends that store managers and staff were aware of the dangers but failed to address all the hazardous areas. He asserts that his wife slipped and fell to the ground when she stepped into a large water puddle. Allegedly, there were no signs to warn the public of the dangerous condition.

The injured woman was rushed to a hospital, having suffered a hip fracture. After surgery and six days in the hospital, she spent about two months rehabilitating at an inpatient facility and home care. The plaintiff claims that the negative impact of the slip-and-fall accident on his wife's overall condition caused her to fall again, this time breaking the other hip. This led to another surgical procedure and more rehabilitation that allegedly further hastened her aging, exacerbated her dementia and caused pancreatitis and pelvic trauma.

The plaintiff alleges his wife's deteriorating health and subsequent death in Nov. 2014 were the direct results of the slip-and-fall incident at the Wal-Mart store in February. The defendant is accused of failure to inspect, maintain and repair surface hazards and of negligence in failing to warn patrons of dangerous areas. Nevada residents who have suffered injuries that appear to have been caused by negligent property owners may pursue claims for recovery of documented pecuniary and non-financial losses by filing premises liability claims in a civil court.

Source: pennrecord.com, "Widower faults Wal-Mart for fallen wife's eventual death", Carol Ostrow, Oct. 21, 2015

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