When you visit premises such as supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, pubs, shops, hospitals, shopping centres, those responsible for the premises are under a duty to ensure that you will be safe whilst visiting them. For many of us, the visit will proceed without any problems but if you suffer an injury as a result of an accident that was not your fault, you may be able to claim compensation.
Legally, the owner/occupier of the premises has a responsibility – i.e. a duty of care – to ensure that the premises are safe and free from all hazards that may cause you harm. If you slip or trip, or if you suffer any injury that was not your fault, the occupier of the premises may be in breach of their duty of care to you and on that basis, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries and any consequential financial losses sustained.
Supermarkets, like all shops, are legally responsible for your safety whilst you are shopping on their premises. The majority of injuries occur when individuals slip on spillages that members of staff or other customers may have caused. The owner has a duty to ensure that adequate systems of inspection are in place so that spillages are cleaned up and that warning signs are put up when appropriate. If you have slipped on yoghurt or fruit, for example, that has been dropped on the floor, the onus is then on the owner to prove that adequate systems of inspection were in place and that the accident was, in their view, unavoidable.
Slipping often results in back injuries or injuries to the lower or upper limbs. Falling over boxes left in the aisles or tripping over protruding shelving can often lead to ankle injuries.
Accidents often occur when individuals trip over matting as they are entering or leaving the premises. Also, floors can become slippery particularly in the wet and snow which causes a hazard when customers are entering or leaving the premises.
The above refers solely to accidents in supermarkets. But equally, similar types of accidents can occur in all public places where the owner has a duty to make sure you are safe when visiting their premises.
Many people do not realise that if they slip on ice and snow, they are in some circumstances able to claim for the injuries sustained. Although the occupiers of premises cannot be held responsible for the weather, they still have a responsibility to keep certain areas free from ice and snow so as to avoid accidents. Steps must be taken to ensure that the area is gritted and/or cleared of snow at the earliest opportunity.
“If you have had an accident whilst visiting a public place, you may claim compensation for the injuries and financial losses sustained.”