Fall Injury in Food Court as the result of a liquid contaminant

PUBLISHED 09 May 2013

The Plaintiff in this matter attended a Shopping Centre in Western Sydney with her son in May of 2011.

Whilst in the Food Court the Plaintiff went to purchase some food for her son. As she was proceeding towards a Take Away food outlet she slipped as a result of a puddle of clear liquid on the ground and thereby sustained a posterior and central disc protrusion to the L5/S1 level of her spine and an aggravation of pre-existing depression.

Instructions were obtained and proceedings were commenced against both the Shopping Centre and the Cleaning Contractors for failing to implement an adequate cleaning system and for failing to remove the contaminant from the floor.

Two witness statements were obtained which confirmed the Plaintiff fell as instructed.   

The difficulty in the matter was that the witnesses could not confirm how long the spillage had been on the floor.   As the fall occurred within the Food Court it was necessary and part of the Cleaning Contract that the Food Court be cleaned on a continual basis.

We were provided with a copy of the CCTV footage which confirmed that some period of time had elapsed from when the area was last cleaned. The Cleaners, nevertheless, submitted during Informal Negotiations that their WAND System had been activated within a few minutes of the Plaintiff’s fall.   This was not evident on the CCTV Footage.

Overall the Plaintiff made a claim for pain and suffering and past and future out of pocket expenses.

The matter became subject to an Informal Settlement Conference at which point the Defendants conveyed their final offer.

The Plaintiff required time to consider same.

The offer was accordingly left open until the close of business on the next business day, being a Monday.

The Plaintiff provided instructions the following Monday to accept the Defendants’ final offer which was a compromise on the part of all parties, but one which the Plaintiff was satisfied with, and the matter settled accordingly.

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