An increasing number of people ask me about whether they can make a claim for compensation if they have had an accident in a stores such as a supermarket or shop. The simple answer to that question is “Yes”. Like any other type of accident, if you are able to show that your accident was caused as a result of negligence on the part of the manager or owner of the store then you can pursue a claim.
The most common type of accident in stores is a slip on a wet floor or a trip over an obstacle left on the floor. When accidents like this happen the injuries sustained can be serious; broken wrists, hips and ankles and back injuries are not at all uncommon.
So how do you know if the store has been negligent? Well the duty of care owed to you is found in the Occupiers Liability Act. This tells us that the owners/managers must take “such care…as is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises…”. Whether or not the store will be found to be in breach of that duty of care very much depends on the circumstances of your own particular case. As the solicitor dealing with a claim such as this for you the kind of factors I would take into account in advising you on whether you are likely to be successful in pursuing a claim are several. I would need to know full details of how and when you had your accident, if there were any warning signs up to alert you to the possibility of a hazard, what the store manager said and did after your accident, and whether there was anything that could have avoided the accident.
One of the first things I would do in investigating your claim would be to write to the store and ask them for a copy of their cleaning policy – it has long been accepted by the Courts that one of the most fundamental steps a store should take in keeping their premises safe for visitors is to have a policy of regular inspection of the floors and a system of cleaning up spillages or removing obstacles. Where stores are unable to show that they have such a system in place then the likelihood of them being found to be in breach of their duty to you increases.
And if you do have an accident in a store you should report it to the manager before you leave and get them to inspect the site with you. An Accident Report form should be completed by the store recording what happened. In all likelihood you will be asked to sign this and it goes without saying that you should carefully check it before you do sign; and if it is not correct, either don’t sign it at all or insist that it is corrected. The Accident Report form is one of the documents I would ask for when I contacted the store about your accident and this again can be very important since the information on that form can contain vital information to show that the store did not take reasonable care for your safety.
If you have had and accident whilst visiting a supermarket, shop or other retail outlet, call me and I will be happy to discuss it with you further and give you some advice on the prospects of you pursuing a successful claim.
Until next time