Compensation for shopper who slipped and fell on wet floor near self-service register in large supermarket chain

PUBLISHED 06 Jul 2017

Our client was a lawful entrant and shopper at a large supermarket chain in Campsie, NSW being south west of the Sydney CBD. Campsie is a large commercial and administrative centre of the Canterbury-Bankstown area.

Our client was attending the supermarket store for the purposes of shopping. At all times, the supermarket chain had the care, management and control of its premises.

On or around March 2014 our client was shopping at the supermarket and whilst proceeding with her shopping basket to the self-service register, she slipped and fell on a wet floor falling heavily and suffering various injuries. There was a large puddle of water on the floor.

The staff from the supermarket chain came to our client’s assistance. Our client suffered injuries to her left ankle, left foot, neck, right arm and right shoulder. She was quite shocked and upset by the fall.

The incident report prepared by the staff indicated that it was wet outside the store and the water must have migrated from outside to inside the store. In our view if that was the case then the supermarket store never put appropriate measures in place for the purposes of ensuring that no water from outside migrated inside onto the tiled floor to avoid customers slipping and falling particularly next to the self-service register which was not far from the entrance to the premises of the supermarket chain.

The supermarket denied the allegations of negligence against them. They admitted that our client was a lawful entrant on their premises. They were not prepared to admit the purposes that our client was on the premises even though she was there shopping. They stated that all staff were instructed to keep a constant look out for spillages on the floor as well as taking appropriate action in terms of any cleaning procedures if any spillage or contaminant was found to be on the floor.

They stated that the cleaning procedure was to pick up the contaminant or stand guard over any spillage as appropriate and/or call another staff member to obtain warning signs and a spill kit to clean up the spillage.

Lastly and surprisingly, they alleged that our client was injured and suffered any injury, loss and damage that was caused or contributed by her own negligence in failing to take any reasonable care for her own safety, failing to look where she was walking and failing to take due care in all the circumstances. Our client rejected this in that she was not aware that there was any water or spillage on the floor when she was proceeding with the shopping basket to the self-service register at the time.

They held that our client as a shopper a duty of care to take reasonable care whilst she was shopping on the premises. It was alleged that the supermarket chain failed to have in place an adequate system of cleaning or inspection for spillages, detecting and removing spillages, erecting warning signage when the floor was wet and undertaking reasonable precautions against the risk of harm which was foreseeable and not insignificant in the circumstances.

The large supermarket chain denied liability in relation to the client’s injuries, losses and damage. This is our view was not the appropriate way to deal with the matter.

Our client suffered significant injuries with her left ankle, left foot, right arm and right shoulder as well as shock and psychological injury and exacerbating her pre-existing medical condition.

We launched legal proceedings against the supermarket chain at claiming compensation for our client’s permanent impairment, pain and suffering, past and future treatment expenses, past and future loss of wages, past and future loss of superannuation and past and future care.

As far as our case was concerned, there was a large puddle of water on the floor near the self-service scanning registers which was not seen by our client causing her to slip and fall and suffer serious injury. An adequate system of cleaning and/or inspection would have removed or warned our client and all other customers of the supermarket chain as to the presence of the spillage on the floor before our client’s accident had occurred.

We provided detailed particulars of our client’s claim for compensation and her injuries, losses and damages to the defendant. We arranged for our client to be medically examined and assessed by various doctors and specialists to determine the full extent of her injuries and disabilities arising from the accident.

Our client also attended to be medically examined by the insurer for the defendant supermarket.

The matter was listed for hearing after the parties had served their medical and liability expert evidence in respect to the claim.

Prior to the hearing of the matter the representatives for the supermarket submitted an offer of settlement to our client and they agreed to pay our client a significant award of compensation in her favour in respect of her injuries, losses and damages, exclusive of legal costs in full and final settlement of the claim.

This is despite our client’s pre-existing medical conditions, the supermarket’s representatives made an offer of compromise to settle the totality of our clients claim.

Our client settled her claim on the basis of a substantial award of compensation plus costs. Considering that the claim was denied from the outset and that the supermarket chain blamed our client in respect of her slip and fall and being responsible for her injuries, this was quite a good outcome in the circumstances.

Conclusion:-

If you are a lawful entrant, shopper and customer attending shopping centres and suffer a slip and fall as our client did in this claim, you may be entitled to compensation for damages in respect of your injuries that have been suffered from the accident.

Our client slipped on a large puddle of water at a large supermarket chain in Campsie near the self-service counter of the store. She was able to establish negligence against them in relation to her injuries and she was awarded a significant amount of damages in compensation for her injuries.

Even though shopping centres and supermarket chains deny liability and blame their customers for slipping and falling on spillages on the floor, they have a duty of care to ensure that there is an adequate system of cleaning and/or inspection for spillages and to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their customers whilst shopping on the premises.

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact our toll free number 1300 768 780 so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend our office to protect your legal rights arising from any slip and fall accident that you have suffered at a shopping centre or a supermarket chain whilst attending their premises for the purposes of shopping.

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