Slip & Fall in a Supermarket on an Unknown Substance

PUBLISHED 07 Apr 2014

This was a public liability matter which involved an elderly female retiree (JV) who was attending Woolworths and had slipped and fell in the trolley bay. Her accident is alleged to be caused by our client slipping on ‘something’. The fall was extremely heavy causing her to suffer a fracture to her left wrist.

A second difficulty in this matter was whether or not our client had slipped upon a liquid. Our instructions were she was not able to say that she had slipped on any particular liquid but she makes that assumption because ‘I must have slipped on something’.

Although there was no doubt that the loss of efficient use of her left upper extremity, in particular the loss of dexterity in her left hand would have meant that her injuries were significant enough for her to pursue a claim. The overriding obstacle in this matter was whether or not Woolworths was liable for not attending to the proper cleaning of the area where our client had slipped.

It was important to note that there was no CCTV footage of the area where the trolleys were kept.

At first we considered whether it was raining. The reports indicated that the area was not raining that day. Further request for information from Woolworths indicated that there was no proper system of cleaning for the area where the trolleys were kept.

The matter proceeded to an Informal Settlement Conference after service of medical reports. Immediately, we were informed that the store manager who attended upon our client is prepared to provide a statement stating that when he attended he was unable to see that there was any contaminate on the floor. We immediately retorted stating that by the time the manager had attended the scene, there was so many people surrounding our client because of the excruciating pain that she was in that any contaminate would have more then likely been absorbed onto the feet. With this one response, negotiations ended in excess of $100,000 which is far more then double of our client’s expectations.

The reason for the success in this matter was due to the experience of the senior solicitor and the ability to tackle the anticipated evidence with confidence.   

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