Shelving accident compensation claims

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Jonathan Speight

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee shelving accident claim

Shelving accident claims fall into one of two broad categories:

  • Where the injury was caused by collapsed or dangerous shelving or by incorrectly stacked stock falling from a shelf. These accidents typically affect members of the public visiting a shop, supermarket or library, although they may also affect a company's employees.
  • Shelf stacking accidents, a type of manual handling accident which occurs while an employee is loading and unloading goods from a shelf.

Quittance have helped members of the public and employees claim for injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones, damaged ligaments and head trauma.

Shelving accidents in a public place

One of the most common types of supermarket accident involves injury by products falling from shelves, or injury after a shelf collapses or falls away from the wall.

These types of injuries may be due to the negligence of the shop or supermarket, for example where:

  • Shelves are over-stacked
  • Shelves are inappropriately stacked and become top-heavy and unstable
  • The shelves are either badly installed or in a poor state of repair
  • Shelf stackers fail to complete a "bump" test to ensure that individual items do not fall from the upper shelves.

Occasionally, the store owner will claim that the shelving accident was not their fault.  This could be the case if a customer had placed a heavy object on the shelf shortly before the accident, causing the collapse.

The Courts may accept that the store owner was not responsible for the accident, for example, if employees did not have sufficient time to remove the hazard before the accident occurred.

To increase the chances of making a successful claim, the injury lawyer will gather evidence such as CCTV footage, photographs and witness statements from fellow shoppers and staff who may have been present at the time. The accident should also be reported and details entered in the accident book.

Shelf stacking accidents

Employers have a legal responsibility to keep their staff safe from harm in the workplace. This is covered by a range of legislation but primarily the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These pieces of legislation require all employers to keep a safe place of work and identify and manage risks. Whenever shelving or the items placed upon it are unsafe, the employer may be liable for any injuries that arise as a result.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 relate to tasks involving the lifting, lowering, raising and carrying of items. This type of activity is known as manual handling. Whenever a manual handling task is undertaken, the employer must carry out a risk assessment to consider whether an employee is capable of performing the task and to consider ways in which the risk of injury may be reduced. Risk-reduction methods include:

  • Limiting shelf stacking to shoulder height
  • Ensuring sufficient space in lifting and stacking areas
  • Labelling heavy objects
  • Providing safety training to employees
  • Checking the health of an employee before assigning shelf stacking duties.

Where the employer fails to implement the full range of appropriate safety measures, they may be held liable for any shelf stacking injury that occurs.

No Win, No Fee shelving accident claims

A No Win, No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is the start of most claims.

The agreement sets out the work your lawyer will provide, and importantly, the "success fee" to be deducted from your compensation award once your case is won.

Get total peace of mind with the knowledge that that you will never be out of pocket. There will be no hidden costs using a Quittance personal injury solicitor.

Next steps

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