Granville supermarket chain ordered to pay shopper substantial damages in compensation for slipping on grapes left on the floor

Published 06 Dec 2017

Our client was attending a large shopping centre in Granville, in the City Of Parramatta, in Western Sydney New South Wales, for the purposes of shopping. The supermarket is one of the largest supermarkets in NSW, mostly specialising in selling groceries and other items.

During one late evening our client was attending the night supermarket store for the purposes of purchasing general groceries. She was accompanied by a friend. It was raining heavily outside at the time. Our client entered the supermarket store and walked to where the shopping baskets were and proceeded to collect the shopping basket and then walk to where the green grapes were displayed close by, when she slipped and fell on grapes left on the floor causing her to fall heavily on the floor and suffer a serious injury to her right knee.

Our client did not see the grapes before slipping. The floor was also damp. There was camera footage in the area where our client slipped and fell. At the time our client fell there were no wet floor signs, warning signs or rubber mats on the floor, particularly in the area where our client fell. Staff from the supermarket store came to our client’s assistance, and cleaned the grapes off the floor. They also took an incident report of the client’s injury.

It was clear that our client’s risk of injury was foreseeable and the risk of harm was not in significant. It was a risk that lawful customers could slip and fall on spilt grapes on a damp terrazzo floor, and the supermarket were required to take reasonable care to prevent that risk from materialising.

Our client attended to her family doctor and she was referred to have scans to her right knee and also physiotherapy treatment. The supermarket store did not accept liability in relation to the client’s injury, losses and damages. We forwarded to them a letter of demand and launched legal proceedings with the claim.

We submitted particulars of negligence including that there was a failure on the part of the supermarket store, and there staff and the cleaners to adhere to a reasonable system of cleaning, ensure an adequate system of cleaning was in place, properly cleaning the grapes of the floor, providing rubber mats beneath and around the grape display, failing to inspect the area where our client slipped and failing to ensure that the grapes were packaged and stored properly so as to avoiding them from falling over onto the floor where customers were shopping.

As a result of the falling heavily, our client suffered an injury to her right knee, aggravated a previous existing lower back injury and she suffered shock and emotional consequences arising from the accident. Our client was referred for x-rays and physiotherapy treatment and it was determined that she had suffered 15% permanent loss of use of her right knee. This was a permanent lifelong injury.

We had our client independently medical examined and assessed. The specialist determined that she would require ongoing treatment with her right knee in the future and that this would also impact upon her working capacity and her loss of enjoyment of life. Her injury to her right knee had resulted in her suffering her a reduced capacity to participate in normal social, domestic, recreational, sporting and employment activities.

Our client was also assessed by a clinical psychologist who found that from a psychological perspective her ongoing pains and problems with her right knee and her lower back had affected various aspects of her life including looking after her daughter and that the accident caused a significant distress and impairment in social, occupational and day to day areas of functioning.

We provided detailed information, documents and particulars to the supermarket chain’s insurer as well as medical treatment reports and medico legal reports for them to be able to adequately assess our clients claim. On the basis of that documentation, the insurer requested for and arranged for an informal settlement conference for the purposes of canvasing the liability and medical issues that caused our clients accident. They apologised to our client in relation to the injury that occurred to her as a customer of their premises.

The supermarkets insurer settled our clients claim the basis of them being ordered to pay her a substantial award of damages of compensation for her injuries, losses and damages. She was quite pleased with the outcome of the settlement in that it allowed her to move forward with her life, and to try to put the matter behind her once and for all.

Conclusion:-

If you are a lawful entrant, shopper and customer, attending to a shopping centre or supermarket and suffer a slip, trip or fall as our client did in this claim, you may be entitled to claim compensation for damages for your personal injuries providing that you are able to establish negligence against the supermarket entity or any other party.

In this case, our client slipped on grapes that were left on the floor at a well-known supermarket shopping centre in Granville in Western Sydney causing her to slip and fall and suffer a serious injury to her right knee. We were able to establish negligence against the supermarket entity and establish the full extent of her injuries, losses and damages by way of medical treatment evidence and independent medico-legal assessment reports.

In this case, our client was a young person and even though the supermarket chain denied liability in respect of our clients injury, the fact that they made a concession that the floor would have been slippery if it had been contaminated with grapes, clearly established that we were going to be able to prove negligence as a against the supermarket chain in her case because they did not have an adequate cleaning and inspection system in place as reasonable precautions for their customers who were shopping whilst on their premises.

The supermarket chain was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages in compensation for her injuries, losses and damages and she was well satisfied with the outcome of the claim.

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