Supermarket Injury Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a supermarket accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a supermarket accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming supermarket injury compensation:

Introduction

Every year thousands of customers and staff are injured in UK supermarkets. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a significant number are slips and trips caused by wet floors and spillages.

Common supermarket injuries include cuts and bruises, lacerations, damaged ligaments, broken bones and head injuries. An injury can affect you physically, psychologically and financially, and can prevent you from working or participating in leisure activities.

If your accident was the result of store negligence, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

Do I have a supermarket injury claim?

You should be eligible to make a supermarket injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was at fault, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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Injury claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a supermarket injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if there is no evidence?

Evidence can take the form of eyewitness accounts, CCTV footage, photographs etc. It will be difficult to win a supermarket injury claim with no evidence at all. You may feel that there is no evidence but a solictor may well be able to assist in collating evidence that you, as a claimant, were unaware of.

What are the legal responsibilities of supermarkets?

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' Liability Act 1957. The act states that all owners/occupiers of 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 responsibility is covered by a range of legislation but primarily the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This act requires all employers to identify and manage risks, including training staff on the dangers and correct health and safety procedures.

How do these responsibilities work in practice?

Supermarkets must carry out risk assessments to identify possible dangers to both customers and staff. Following the risk assessment, the supermarket 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

Supermarket employees are also at risk of injury 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 storeroom or unloading from a delivery van

As busy retail environments, supermarkets must have a system in place where floors, aisles and staff areas are regularly inspected, and hazards cleaned up or removed. If hazards 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 you from suffering harm, the supermarket can be held liable.

If it can be established that the supermarket was negligent, a compensation claim should be possible.

The supermarket may argue that you were partly to blame and use ‘contributory negligence' as a defence. However, even if the supermarket can establish 'contributory negligence', a 'split-liability' agreement would still lead to a compensation settlement, albeit at a reduced rate.

What steps should you take following an accident in a supermarket?

If you, as a customer or member of staff, are involved in an accident, you should notify a member of the supermarket staff. The supermarket should record the incident in an accident book and administer any minor first aid required.

If possible, gather as much evidence as possible as this will be used to support your claim:

  • Photographs of the scene
  • Photographs of the injuries
  • Witness details
  • Store CCTV camera footage

Seeking medical attention for your injury is of paramount importance. Even if the injury is relatively minor, a visit to a GP or hospital will establish a medical record of the event.

If the injury occurred a while ago and you did not seek medical attention, a claim may still be possible. Your solicitor will arrange a medical at a location near you to help build the strongest possible case.

What is the process for a supermarket accident claim?

Supermarkets will have 'public liability' and 'employer's liability' insurance in place to cover any claims made against them.

The supermarket will liaise with their insurance company to work out what happened and decide who is liable.

If your accident occurred after the 31 July 2013, supermarkets and their insurers have 40 working days to admit or deny responsibility. This period is set out in the 'Pre-Action Protocol' for public liability personal injury claims.

If the supermarket accepts responsibility, your solicitor will calculate the level of general and special damages.

If the supermarket denies or disputes the claim, the process will take longer. When there has been an initial dispute or denial, claims are still usually resolved without going to court. Less than five per cent of claims go to court.

If a claim does reach the courts, they will decide whether or not they think a supermarket operated a ‘reasonable' system of checking and removing hazards*.

How much compensation can I claim for a supermarket injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your supermarket injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your supermarket injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a supermarket injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious ankle injury can be £35,000

For a more minor wrist injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £2,900.

However, if you have a serious ankle injury and a more minor wrist injury, you would typically receive £35,000 + a reduced percentage of £2,900.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for a supermarket injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a supermarket injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your supermarket injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Can I claim for an existing supermarket injury that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Supermarket injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a supermarket injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your supermarket injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a supermarket injury claim take?

The length of time needed to get compensation for a supermarket accident can vary considerably.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted public place accident claim could be completed in a couple of months. If the supermarket denies liability, the process might take significantly longer. Usually, a public place accident claim takes between 6 and 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your supermarket injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee - the facts

'No win, no fee' means that if your supermarket injury claim is not successful, you will not have to pay any legal fees at all. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is an agreement entered into between you and a solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a supermarket injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my supermarket injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my supermarket injury claim?

If your supermarket injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your supermarket injury claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Supermarket injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a supermarket injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the supermarket injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your supermarket injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a supermarket injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim supermarket injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a supermarket injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

*Ward v Tesco [1976] and Dawkins v Carnival Plc [2011] are two example cases of this law being applied in practice.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert