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At Joe I. Zaid & Associates, we are dedicated to helping those who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own. With over 10 years of experience, we have a deep understanding of personal injury law, including premises liability.

This article aims to explain the intricacies of premises liability, highlighting your rights as a shopper, particularly using a situation involving HEB, a popular grocery store chain.

The Premises Liability Concept

Premises liability refers to a property owner’s legal responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for visitors. In the context of retail stores like HEB, this means taking reasonable steps to prevent hazards that could lead to injuries for customers.

Case in Point: Helen’s Slip and Fall Incident

Let’s dive into a real-life scenario by focusing on a case involving a shopper named Helen, who visited an HEB store. While on her shopping trip, Helen encountered a puddle of water on the floor and unfortunately slipped and fell, sustaining serious injuries. Convinced that HEB was responsible for her fall, Helen decided to pursue legal action, claiming HEB was negligent in maintaining a safe environment for its customers.

Key Allegations

Helen’s case was built on several key points:

  1. Knowledge of Hazard: Helen argued that HEB either knew or should have known about the puddle.
  2. Unreasonable Risk: The puddle presented an unreasonable risk of harm to shoppers.
  3. Failure to Act: Helen claimed that HEB failed to clean up the puddle or provide adequate warnings to customers.
  4. Proximate Cause: She asserted that this failure directly resulted in her fall and subsequent injuries.

In response, HEB maintained that they were not entirely at fault and sought a summary judgment—a legal move to dismiss the case on the grounds that Helen’s evidence was insufficient.

The Court’s Judgment

The court had to decide if Helen’s case had enough merit to proceed to a full trial. Here’s how the process unfolded:

Summary Judgment

A summary judgment is essentially a pre-trial check to determine if the case has a strong foundation. If successful, it can avoid a lengthy trial process.

Helen’s Evidence

To support her claims, Helen submitted an affidavit from her son, Randy. He described arriving at the store immediately after Helen’s fall and observing dirty mop streaks around the area. Randy’s statement suggested that these marks indicated the water had been there for some time. However, his observations were deemed speculative rather than based on solid, factual evidence. The court found that Randy’s assumptions did not sufficiently prove that HEB should have known about the puddle.

Lack of Temporal Evidence

A crucial aspect of premises liability cases is temporal evidence—proof of how long a hazardous condition existed. Without clear evidence showing the duration of the puddle’s presence, it is challenging to argue that the store had a reasonable opportunity to address the problem. The court ruled that Randy’s affidavit did not provide this necessary temporal evidence.

Expert Testimony

While Randy mentioned his experience as a restaurant owner, the court indicated that his experience did not qualify him as an expert in determining how long a puddle had been present. Consequently, his claims were considered conclusory, lacking the factual basis needed to withstand legal scrutiny.

Learning from Helen’s Experience

Helen’s case illustrates several critical points for anyone involved in a slip and fall accident:

1. Importance of Strong Evidence

Clear, factual evidence is paramount. This might include photographs, timestamps, and witness statements gathered immediately after the incident. Assumptions or speculative statements are insufficient.

2. Temporal Evidence

Proving how long a hazard has been present is vital. Surveillance footage, maintenance logs, or other credible documentation can establish this crucial timeframe.

3. Expert Opinions

When necessary, seek opinions from qualified experts who can provide credible analysis, bolstering the strength of your case.

Your Rights as a Shopper

As a customer, you have the right to expect a safe shopping environment. If you suffer an injury due to a hazard, the store may be held accountable. However, proving negligence requires substantial and specific evidence.

What to Do if You Experience a Slip and Fall

  • Document the Scene: Take photos and note the time and conditions.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the priority, and medical records will also serve as critical evidence.
  • Report the Incident: Notify the store management immediately and ensure an official report is filed.
  • Collect Evidence: Gather contact information of witnesses and any other relevant details.

Contact Joe Zaid

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident at HEB, do not wait—reach out to Joe I. Zaid & Associates for professional assistance. Our team has the experience and dedication to advocate for your rights.

Contact us at one of our offices:

Pasadena Office – Main Office
4710 Vista Rd. Suite E
Pasadena, Texas 77505
(346) 756-9243 – Se Habla Español
Fax: 866-563-9243

Humble Office
5616 Farm to Market 1960 Road East
Suite 290D
Humble, Texas 77346
(346) 594-0500

Clear Lake Office
16821 Buccaneer Ln #226
Houston, TX 77058
(346) 690-0500

Don’t let an unfortunate accident go unanswered. Get the legal help you deserve today!

Disclaimer: This case is not handled by Joe I. Zaid & Associates. The information provided in the blog is based on a case pulled from

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