Slip from soapy water from food shop achieves $200,000 compensation

PUBLISHED 15 Aug 2013

Our client went to a large shopping centre with her husband for the purpose of buying some groceries. Before heading off to the super market she decided to go to the food hall section to buy some food for her daughter. As she walked to a particular food shop for the purposes of buying food from that establishment she felt her feet go from beneath her and fell heavily to the ground striking both her left and right knees.

She noticed after the fall that the floor was very wet and extremely slippery due to water and  soap. There were no warning signs in place near the site of the fall. It became apparent that employees from that shop were cleaning the shop at the time and were holding a mop and bucket. The water appeared to have animated from out of the store onto the walk way area of the mall.

Investigations were conducted by our firm on behalf of the client and we were able to obtain incident reports from the shopping centre together with video. Further investigations allowed us to identify a witness to the incident who worked in an adjacent store who confirmed the cleaning had taken place immediately prior to the fall and that water in the walk way area of the mall came from that particular store. The main issue with regards to negligence to be determined was whether the store took reasonable precautions to prevent the risk from materialising. Issues relating to whether there was an adequate system of cleaning at the time of the incident. In many cases involving shopping centres, cleaning companies are involved in proceedings however, in this case as the spillage came directly from the shop it was not the responsibility of the mall or the cleaners.

The injuries had a significant affect on the client compromising her pre injury work abilities which had prevented her from returning to her previous employment as a cleaner. Similarly it affected her past recreational, social pursuits and she had reduced capacity to perform household duties and domestic chores.

A claim was made for damages for the injury together with medical expenses in relation to the past and the future. A claim for gratuitous assistance provided to her by family members after the accident and into the future and finally a claim for loss of earning capacity in relation to the past and component for the future based on her inability or difficulty in returning to the work force or gainfully being employed.

Proceeding were commenced in the District Court and an informal settlement conference was held with the defendant’s solicitors representing the food store. After lengthy negotiations the matter was settled in the sum in excess of $200,000 compensation.

The client was very happy with the result and the settlement would allow her to get on with life noting it has covered medical expenses which she will require in the future involving possible surgery and the provision of sufficient monies covering her wage loss to the past and possible projective lost in the future.

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