Business May Have To Clean Up Spill Within Three Minutes

If you slip and fall on a puddle in a store, you may be able to sue the store for not cleaning it up. If the store knew, or should have known, that it was there, you may have a case. This raises the question: How quickly must a store realize that someone has spilled something and clean up the mess? Possibly as little as three minutes, according to Tennessee Court of Appeals.
In this case, a customer at a Hardee’s restaurant slipped and injured himself on a puddle on the floor. A review of the store’s security video showed that the liquid had been there for three minutes and 11 seconds before the man fell.
Although that is not a very long time, the puddle was less than 20 feet from the service counter where employees were serving customers. Witnesses said it could easily be seen by employees behind the counter. Hardee’s argued that it was unfair to expect employees to clean up a spill in three minutes. However, the court disagreed and said a jury should decide at trial whether the Hardee’s employees had acted reasonably in the situation.

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