Supermarket injury compensation claims
This article takes you through everything you should know about making a supermarket accident compensation claim.
Thousands of accidents occur in UK supermarkets each year, injuring both customers and staff. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a significant number are slips and trips caused by wet floors and spillages. If the accident was the result of store negligence, the person affected can pursue a claim for compensation.
Injuries from supermarket accidents can range from cuts and bruises to lacerations, damaged ligaments, broken bones and head injuries. The person affected can suffer physically, psychologically and financially, with injuries impeding their ability to work or participate in normal leisure activities.
If you have suffered a supermarket injury in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Supermarkets have a legal duty to keep their customers safe from harm, by taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents on their premises. This ?duty of care' comes under the Occupiers' Lliability Act 1957. This states that all owners/occupiers or premises, such as a supermarket, must make those premises reasonably safe for all visitors.
Supermarkets, as employers, also have a legal responsibility to keep their staff safe from harm. This is covered by a range of legislation but primarily the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This requires all employers to identify and manage risks, including training staff on the dangers and correct health and safety procedures.
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Supermarkets must carry out risk assessments to identify possible dangers to both customers and staff. From this they must implement sufficient health and safety measures to prevent injuries occurring.
Some of the most common preventable hazards in supermarkets include:
- Wet floors - caused by weather, cleaning products or leaking freezers and chillers
- Spillages - from food and liquid products
- Items falling from shelves - due to incorrect placement
- Obstacles in aisles - such as stray trolleys or baskets as well as boxes, trays and roll cages used for stacking shelves
In addition supermarket employees could also be injured by:
- Lifting heavy objects - without the right support or positioning
- Defective equipment or dangerous machinery - such as roll cages or lift trucks
- Poorly stacked goods - in a store room or unloading from a delivery van
As busy retail environments, it is essential that supermarkets have a system in place where floors, aisles and staff areas are regularly inspected and hazards cleaned up or removed. Where they cannot be dealt with immediately, suitable warning signs must be used to alert customers and staff. Alternatively, the area should be cordoned off.
If a supermarket fails to prevent a customer or staff member from suffering harm, they can be held liable. In order to prove negligence, it must be shown that the supermarket were at fault. If this cannot be proved, in full or in part, the claim may be unsuccessful. The store may also seek to use ?contributory negligence' as a defence.
When a customer is involved in an accident, the first step is to notify a member of supermarket staff. They should record the incident in an accident book and administer any minor first aid required. The same applies to injured employees.
If possible, further evidence should also be gathered to support the claim, including:
- Photographs of the scene
- Photographs of the injuries
- Witness details
- Store CCTV camera footage
A visit to hospital or a GP is important, not only in seeking help, but also because they will keep medical records which are again important evidence.
For more serious injuries, where an immediate trip to hospital is required, much of this information can be sought at a later date with the help of a solicitor.
Supermarkets will have insurance in place to cover any claims made against them. When a claim is made the supermarkets insurance company will liaise with the store manager to work out what happened and decide who is liable.
If an accident occurred after the 31 July 2013, supermarkets and their insurers have 40 working days to admit or deny responsibility for the accident. This is set out in the pre-action protocol for public liability personal injury claims.
If they accept responsibility, the claimant will need to prove losses to receive a pay-out. This usually takes around six months. If they dispute it, the claim will take longer and may be taken to the Courts.
If a claim reaches the Courts, they will decide whether or not they think a supermarket operated a ?reasonable' system of checking and removing hazards.
Ward v Tesco  and Dawkins v Carnival Plc  are two example cases of this law being applied in practice.
Injury compensation guidelines are set by the Judicial College (formerly the Judicial Studies Board). These figures are assessed in relation to the type and extent of the injury, and in consideration of recovery prospects. In the guidelines, compensation amounts take the form of minimum and maximum values for an injury or condition.
These guideline ranges are not legally binding but they are widely adopted and adhered to by the Courts as well as the majority of insurers. Quittance s Compensation Claims Report predicts the amount of compensation you could receive in reference to these guidelines.
Supplementing an amount for general damages, it is possible to claim for costs you have incurred during treatment and ongoing care.
A no win no fee agreement (more correctly known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is entered into between a claimant and a specialist injury lawyer.
The Conditional Fee Agreement is in essence the terms and conditions under which the solicitor is instructed by the claimant.
It sets out what the solicitor will do and how he will be paid if your claim is successful.
If you choose a Quittance Personal Injury solicitor for your supermarket accident claim there are no sneaky hidden costs in the terms and conditions , no up-front fees and the peace of mind that you will not be financially out of pocket.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim supermarket injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Meet the team
Quittance's nationwide network of solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims and have a wealth of experience in fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Selected on the basis of their success rate in winning claims, our lawyers have years of dedicated experience.
About the author
Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.
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