Slip and Fall at Coffee Shop Causes Significant Injury

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by Michael Talve, CEO

- Updated onOctober 25, 2023

Slip and Fall at Coffee Shop Causes Significant Injury

This case involves an injury to a woman who, while playing an augmented reality game in the cafe, slipped and fell on a wet floor at an urban coffee shop. The plaintiff, a twenty-nine-year-old female, became severely injured after slipping on coffee. The coffee was spilled by a customer after they accidentally dropped it in the entranceway of the coffee shop. Half of the coffee spilled on the rug which customers were to wipe their feet on as they entered the shop, and the other half fell on the tile floor. Subsequently, an employee collected the rug to take it in the back for cleaning but did not mop up the remaining coffee on the floor. The employee also failed to place a warning sign on the floor indicating that the surface was wet. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff entered the coffee store. Upon entering, she slipped on the remaining coffee, and, as a result of her fall, the plaintiff suffered a fractured tailbone and broken wrist. Additionally, she has missed a substantial amount of work due to hospital treatments and doctor’s appointments.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

1. Should the coffee shop have placed a warning sign indicating that the area was wet and/or cleaned up the wet floor immediately?

Expert Witness Response

inline imageMaintaining the upkeep of a store is an important part of any business. In many cases, such as the one here, it is crucial to providing a safe environment for the store’s customers. Typically, businesses will have procedures for how to deal with incidents. This usually entails marking a wet area with a caution sign, and cleaning up the mess promptly before someone can become injured. While the employee did pick up and remove the wet rug, he failed to mark or clean the remainder of the surface impacted by the spill. As a result, a customer was injured when she unknowingly stepped on the wet surface. Based on these facts, it appears that a warning sign should have been placed at the area of the spill and the coffee should have been mopped up in a timelier manner. However, in order to give a definitive answer, a full review of the circumstances, including training, any literature distributed to employees, and pictures of the coffee shop in question, is needed. I have over twenty-five years of relevant experience, with fourteen years experience as the manager of a coffee shop and eleven years managing a restaurant. As such, I know the procedures and guidelines for dealing with restaurant safety and food-shop maintenance.

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