Can you claim compensation if you’re injured in a supermarket?

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Direct2Compensation have represented a number of claimants who have had the unfortunate and embarrassing experience of suffering a very public accident in a busy supermarket. This kind of claim usually revolves around a busy mum who has to endure the weekly assault course which is the grocery shop. The typical claim is for a slip due to either a wet floor or spilt food on the floor with no hazard warning sign. Usually it results in soft tissue injuries, back pain or occasional bone fractures.

So, you’ve slipped on an unmarked wet floor or spillage of ketchup, mayonnaise or squashed fruit and there was no hazard warning sign erected. You’ve been injured and completed an accident book entry with the store in question. But can you claim compensation?

Making a successful claim

A successful claim is not quite as simple as just having an accident, reporting it and getting medical treatment. A claimant needs to prove that the supermarket was negligent and that in this case, it failed to ensure the premises were safe for customers and that any hazards were marked.

Let’s be fair, a customer can easily drop an egg, knock a bottle from a shelf and spill some liquid on the floor. They don’t always report it to a staff member and often just walk off. The next customer could come round the corner within seconds and slip on the spillage and be injured. Would it then be fair for the Supermarket to be liable? Probably not, they have large premises to monitor and can’t be expected to see every spillage as it happens and have a hazard warning sign erected instantly.

When defending a claim, if the supermarket can show that they have taken every precaution to properly monitor their store by way of a cleaning and inspection regime, the courts often find in favour of the supermarket. For example, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and the other main chains usually have a 30-minute cleaning regime in place. This is where a worker inspects the floors of the aisles every 30 minutes for hazards, spillages and other cleaning work. They should then erect a sign if any hazards are found before instructing a cleaner to remove the hazard. They will then sign an inspection report. This gives them adequate time to manage their often very large floor space and demonstrates that they have taken every care. It is however, pretty easy for such reports to be forged or signed off without an inspection having taken place.

However, sometimes hazards can be in situ for long times – like leaky freezer units or leaky buckets on the flower display area. Simply erecting a hazard sign and then leaving the area alone is often not sufficient to defend a claim. Also, it is often pretty easy to prove that the store didn’t follow a strict 30 minute cleaning regime due to it being busy, under-staffed or forgotten.

Whatever the type of accident and its cause, you should always report it to a staff member and ensure that an accurate version of events is entered in an accident book – make sure you request to sign it personally. Then make sure you get medical treatment from your GP or at Hospital before contacting us regarding a claim.

8 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

  1. My two year old was intrigued by a hanging point of sale poster in Morrisons, and grabbed it. I told him off and to let go, when he did it came off and in the process a 2l bottle of coke fell on his head.
    I was embarrassed but obvs it caused concern as I was asked if ok.
    The checkout lady got a first aider who got us an ice pack for my little boys now swollen cheek.
    The bottle was on its own so obvs not meant to be there – but is it the supermarkets fault or my toddlers?

    • This is an unusual matter and one that would need some further investigation at our end in order to ascertain whether or not your toddler could pursue a claim against Morrisons. It maybe that some contributory negligence would attach.

      We would be happy to take some further information from you and get an opinion from our specialist Solicitors for you.

  2. Dear Sir or Madam
    I slipped over going into Countdown super market and broke my arm in several places. It was raining at the time and there were no mats to wipe your feet on.
    Please can you tell me if there any grounds for to make a claim for compensation for their negligence ?

    • Under UK Law, the occupier liability act would require a business premises to take every appropriate and reasonable precaution to minimise the risk of injury within the premises. In your case, you describe a foreseeable risk of accident in that those visiting the store would be treading rain water in to the store and the floor would become slippery. As such, it would be reasonable to expect the store to have hazard warning signs on display as well as adequate matting situated inside the doors to allow patrons of the store to remove excess rain water before walking further in to the store.

      As that has not happened here, you may well have a claim.

  3. I was injured by a faulty shopping basket in my local supermarket. I informed the customer service staff and filled in an incident report form. The next day I had a temperature and the bruise was making my leg uncomfortable and I had to make a visit to my Doctor.

    I just want to know whether I have a claim for the pain and suffering that I received due to this?

    • We would certainly be keen to pursue a claim for you given the circumstances you describe. The fact that you have recorded the details of the injury and cause within an accident book at the supermarket is good and you have also sought medical attention so there will be medical evidence available to support any claim.

      Please call us on 01225430285 to get your claim started.

  4. My partner as made a claim against a local supermarket she went to hospital and there was CCTV but now her solicitor has rang and said they won’t take the case on as the shop a conveniently lost the CCTV is there anything she can do

    • Whilst CCTV can provide important evidence in claims for compensation (both in terms of supporting and defending), the lack of footage shouldn’t in and of itself spell the end of a claim.

      In your partners circumstances, was the accident recorded within the supermarket in an accident book? If so, it would provide evidence that she was injured within the store in question. In claims against supermarkets, the onus would be on the defendant to successfully defend any claim against them by demonstrating that they have adequate regimes in place for cleaning, removing hazards and minimising the risk of injury.

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