Brisbane & Gold Coast Supermarket Slips: Your Legal Rights

Occasionally, our firm receives enquiries about clients who have slipped on floors that were not properly cleaned in public areas such as supermarkets. If you have been injured in an accident such as this, you would bring a claim under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) for compensation of your injuries due to the store’s negligence.

Clients need to understand that it is necessary to prove the threshold requirements to be successful in their claim:

  • They need to prove that the occupier (e.g. supermarket) owed a duty of care to provide a safe environment for their customers;
  • The occupier was negligent by failing to follow that duty of care;
  • The negligence of the occupier is proven to cause injury to another person; and
  • As a result of the injury, the person has (or will in the future) suffer a loss (e.g. medical expenses, lost wages from work, out of pocket expenses, etc.)

Clients sometimes get apprehensive because they do not understand whether or not they may have a case against the supermarket. With reference to recent cases, our firm will provide a few guidelines to follow to help your claim if you have been injured in an accident:

  • Stores are held to a high duty of care to their customers

Strong v Woolworths Ltd: In 2012, a woman amputee slipped on a chip near the entrance of a Big W store during their sidewalk sale. She was successful in her claim because the High Court accepted that in order to comply with an occupiers duty of care, checking and removing slipping hazards must occur no less than every 20 minutes.

Fitzsimmons v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd: Another case in 2013 involved a woman who slipped on a wet floor despite there being three ‘wet floor’ signs because the staff left to get the necessary tools to clean it properly. The courts held that the supermarket should have stationed staff to warn less attentive customers of the spill because the signs were not at eye-level and could be overlooked by customers shopping.

 

  • Make sure you file an incident report with the store.

The most recent case that has hit the news in 2014 involves a woman in the Sunshine Coast who slipped on a grape in Woolworths and is suing the company for $320,000. However, Woolworths is arguing that the incident might never even have happened because it was not reported on that day.

It is important to inform the staff and have an incident report filed as soon as possible after an accident. Some people may feel this may be unnecessary because they might not feel a lot of pain, may be embarrassed, etc.

However, they also run the risk of severely affecting their legal rights to compensation if their injuries become worse because of the accident. Unless you are a doctor, it is very hard to determine the full extent of your injuries immediately after they have occurred.

It is also helpful to get the names of staff or anyone else who are witnesses to the accident.

This simple step can save a substantial amount of time in legal arguments.

  • Proving a slip & fall accident may be difficult.

A victim of a slip and fall injury has the responsibility to prove all the elements of a negligence claim on a balance of probabilities.

Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd v Meneghello: This was another 2013 case that involved a woman who slipped on two pieces of cardboard at a Coles store. However, she lost in court because it was held that she could not prove direct evidence that her foot was in contact with the cardboard (despite the fact that she saw the cardboard near where she had fallen.) It was also held that in this case, it could not be proven that the cardboard constituted a severe slip hazard.

What Does This Mean to You?

A slip and fall accident is a very difficult kind of case to prove in court. There are many complicated legal factors that come into play and pursing this claim in negligence may take a significant amount of time and resources to be successful.

Be very careful about lawyers who promise you a guaranteed outcome from an initial meeting for these kinds of cases. The unique circumstances of your case need to be considered in order to determine your chances of success in court and this involves a comprehensive assessment of your injuries, as well as gathering all of the relevant needed to substantiate a claim.

How East Coast Injury Lawyers Can Help

Our accredited specialists in personal injury have experience representing both plaintiffs, as well as defending the insurance companies. Their professional experience can help you make an informed decision about whether you can pursue a negligence claim.

It is very important that you speak to a personal injury lawyer about your accident as soon as possible in order to be informed of your legal rights.

Do not delay. Doing so may run the risk of losing necessary evidence of substantiating your claim, or at worse, you may lose your legal right to pursue compensation.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Queensland, including Brisbane and the Gold Coast, do not hesitate to contact us today or fill out our case review form. We will respond as soon as possible and provide a free, no obligation consultation to inform you of your legal rights.

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