Appeal from cleaning services organisation granted in slip and fall case

Date: Aug 17, 2018

A recent appeal brought before the Supreme Court of New South Wales questions whether a cleaner was negligent before a man slipped and fell in a wet spot at a shopping centre in Liverpool. The original judge had ordered that the individual was negligent and caused the plaintiffs injuries.

Events surrounding the slip and fall

In December 2013, a man was walking in a shopping centre with his daughter when he slipped and fell on a large wet spot on the floor. The man then initiated proceedings against the centre's occupier as well as the cleaning services provider for the centre. 

Shortly before the accident that day, it was revealed that two different cleaners had inspected the area where the man fell, but the second cleaner was found in the original trial to not have properly assessed the wet area where the man fell, which was an area of at least a metre. Thus, the initial judge found that the second cleaner's negligence caused the man's injuries and that the risk had been foreseeable. 

The shopping centre appeals

In the recent appeal, the organisation that had provided cleaning services for the shopping centre brought into question the following two points:

  • Whether the finding was correct that the spot was wet when the second cleaner inspected the area where the accident took place.
  • Whether it was true that if the second cleaner had taken reasonable care he should have noticed the wet spot and taken action to get rid of it.

The main finding was the fact that the second cleaner did not detect the wet patch did not mean that he had breached his duty, as a failure to find one particular hazard does not necessarily mean he did not take reasonable care in his job.

The judge ordered for the appeal to be allowed and for the original orders made by the primary judge to be set aside. The respondent's claim in the appeal (the man who fell) was dismissed, and he was ordered to pay the appellant's costs.

You may be eligible for public liability compensation if you have had an accident on a public or private property that was caused by negligence of another party. Our experienced lawyers offer free consultations at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers, so get in touch with us right away. 

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.