By Barbara M. Callahan, Esq.
Thanksgiving week is upon us and with every one making an extra grocery shopping trip or two, it brings to mind the relatively recent update to Massachusetts law with regards to slip and fall accidents in produce and other “self-service” areas of the grocery store.
Almost all grocery stores have self-service areas where customers can sort through and choose their own food items, the produce section being the most obvious example. When produce falls to the floor, it creates an unsafe condition and a slipping hazard. Serious injuries may result from such slip and falls. Prior to 2007, if a store customer slipped and fell on a food item which had fallen to the floor, that customer would be required to prove that the grocery store either caused the food item to be on the floor or to have actually known that the food item was on the floor or that the food item was on the floor for so long that the grocery store should have been aware of the unsafe condition. This was a trying, but not impossible, standard for injured customers to meet.