Slips at the shops: public liability and supermarkets

When you go shopping, the last thing you expect (or want) is to suffer a slip and fall injury in a supermarket. There are many instances where people have suffered serious injuries due to slips and falls while shopping.

If you are injured at a supermarket, you may be able to make a compensation claim against the shop owner. However, you will need to show that your injuries were caused by the shop owner’s negligence.

Making a claim against a supermarket

Shops and supermarkets are expected to provide a safe environment for the public. They need to take active measures to ensure that the risk of slip and fall injury is minimised. This includes having a system of cleaning in place to ensure that the floors are safe to walk on and cleared of hazards.

The process for making a claim against a supermarket is similar to making any other public liability claim for compensation. As the following case examples illustrate, to make a successful claim against a supermarket, you’ll need to show that the owner of the supermarket owed you a duty of care and that it was breached due to the supermarket’s negligence.

Recent cases of slip and fall injury at supermarkets

Case study: Woman slips on a grape at Coles

In a recent supermarket slip and fall case, a woman slipped on a grape while shopping at Coles. She was awarded over $90,000 in compensation for her injuries. The court found that Coles had failed in its duty of care by not having an adequate and safe system in place to keep the floor clean to prevent the slip risk of fruit on the floor.

Case study: Supermarket had a safe system of cleaning

In another case against Coles, the court held in favour of the supermarket, after a woman suffered a similar slip and fall injury. This time, the trial judge held that the supermarket did have an adequate system for checking and cleaning the store at regular intervals.

The judge said that it is not realistic to expect that every piece of vegetable matter which falls on the floor of a supermarket, will be picked up instantly. “Coles is not bound to ensure the absolute safety of entrants to its stores. It must take reasonable care,” his Honour said.

Case study: Obvious risk stymies shopper’s slip and fall claim

In a third case, the court rejected a compensation claim after a shopper injured herself in a shopping mall car park. The woman tripped over a concrete kerb and suffered injuries to her left shoulder and right knee.

The court found that the kerb was an obvious risk given that the shopper had visited the car park on a number of occasions, so she would have been familiar with the locations of the concrete kerbs. In this case, the owners of the car park were not liable for the slip and fall injuries suffered by the woman.

Speak to experienced public liability lawyers

Public liability law is complicated and to succeed in a compensation claim, you’ll need to have the right advice on what to do. If you’ve suffered a slip and fall injury at a supermarket, be sure to contact our friendly team of public liability lawyers. We will be able to assess the merits of your claim, provide you with the right advice, and help you all the way through the compensation claim process. Call us today on (02) 9601 0088.

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