A service customer who fell during a rainy-day visit to a Chevrolet dealership in Louisiana can’t pursue his personal injury lawsuit, the state Court of Appeal ruled.
Charles Hamner visited Ray Chevrolet in Abbeville, La., for service on his Tahoe in February 2014. According to the court decision, when Hamner got out of the vehicle in the service area, he slipped, fell backward, hit his head on the running board and lost consciousness.
The court cited testimony from two dealership service managers that there were 24-inch-high yellow floor signs in the service area that day warning of wet floors. Two months before the mishap, the store spent more than $13,000 to resurface the floor of the service area with a nonslip epoxy coating embedded with grit, according to legal documents.
Hamner failed to show “an unreasonable risk of harm,” the court said, noting his statement that the floor was wet because rainwater dripped off the Tahoe when he pulled in. It said Ray Chevrolet couldn’t have discovered any hazardous condition before Hamner fell “if the rainwater was brought into the service area with his vehicle.”
The lesson for service departments is the importance of having “cones and warnings in place when there is any possibility of rainy weather and possibly at all times since the air conditioners on cars almost all of the time drip water,” said James Ryan III, a lawyer for the dealership.
“It helped that the dealership had recently resurfaced the drive in an area with warning cones,” Ryan added.
Hamner’s lawyer, David Lefeve, said his client may pursue a further appeal.