The supermarket chain Coles has had several slip and fall lawsuits against them in recent years. Usually the falls take place within a store in one of the aisles. However, in a recent case, the company was sued when a man sustained an injury in the store’s designated car park.
The events and the original proceedings
On 6 April 2014, a man was walking in the below-ground car park meant for Cole’s supermarket customers after he had done his shopping. He couldn’t reach his vehicle without walking through water on the ground, and while doing so, slipped and fell, sustaining significant injuries. After claiming that Coles had breached their duty of care by allowing the water to be there, he sued the company.
The man argued that the supermarket chain failed to ensure that the floor was not dangerous to customers and failed to install signs indicating that the surface was slippery, among other failures and contributors to the significant risk.
Coles, on the other hand, admitted none of the allegations and instead claimed that the man was injured due to his own negligence (failing to maintain proper lookout, avoiding a slip hazard, etc.).
In late 2017, the man was awarded $688,071 after proceedings in the Common Law Division, and Coles was ordered to also pay the man’s costs of the proceedings. The findings by the primary judge indicated that the store chain failed to ensure that the car park surface was not slippery, to create a non-slip walkway or to erect a warning sign near the slippery area.
The appeal by Coles
On 18 April 2018, the supermarket chain filed an appeal, claiming that the conclusion that Coles had breached a duty of care was in error. Additionally, Coles claimed that the judge should have found that the man contributed to his own injury by his own negligence.
After the Court of Appeal heard the case, it was ruled that while Coles was still liable to the man, he was indeed entitled to a lesser judgment. The appeal was allowed in part, and the man’s award was reduced to 75 per cent of the original amount, $516,053. Otherwise, the appeal was dismissed and Cole’s was ordered to pay two thirds of the respondent’s costs of the appeal proceedings.
If you have been a victim in a slip and fall accident, get in touch with us right away for a free consultation. Our experienced public liability lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers are here to help you with your claim.