Public Liability

How to make a public liability claim for a supermarket slip and fall?

Unfortunately accidents and injuries can still occur even in places where you should have the right to feel safe. It is not uncommon for customers to experience slips, trips or falls in their local supermarket, which can often lead to more serious back, neck or head injuries. If you are a victim of a supermarket injury, read on to find out more about your rights and how you are protected under Public Liability law.

What is a Public Liability Claim?

In any circumstance where you have been injured in a public place due to the fault of another party, such as the supermarket, you may be entitled to make a Public Liability claim. This claim can be brought against the party at fault (even if they are only partially at fault) for failing to take reasonable care, such as failing to reasonably ensure a safe environment free from spillage or slippery surfaces. If successful, a Public Liability claim settlement will compensate you for your injuries.

What is required for a Public Liability Claim?

Merely sustaining an injury in a supermarket is not sufficient for a Public Liability Claim. It must be shown that the injury was a result of the supermarket’s negligence.

In making a claim, you must prove that:

  • The party at fault owed you a duty of care. A duty of care is owed by an occupier of premises towards all the people who they can reasonably foresee will enter the premises. The courts legally recognise that a supermarket will owe a duty of care towards all its customers.
  • The party at fault breached that duty of care. The courts do expect that supermarkets maintain a reasonable cleaning system, where floors are cleaned from spillage at intervals of 20-30 minutes, with warning signs or barrier placed around potential hazards. Where supermarkets deviate from reasonable practices, this may constitute a breach of duty of care.
  • You were injured or suffered loss as a result of this breach. This may pertain to a physical or psychological injury, damage to property or economic loss.

What evidence do I need for a Public Liability Claim?

As soon as your injury has occurred, you should begin collecting evidence for your Public Liability Claim as soon as possible. The evidence you can collect can help maximise the compensation you will receive.

This may include:

  • Reporting the injury to supermarket staff, and keeping records of any correspondence between you and the supermarket after the injury
  • Taking photographs of the location where the injury occurred, and the surroundings
  • Taking photographs of the injury itself
  • Writing a statement of events
  • Obtaining medical records for your injury (such as the dates of appointments, medical certificates and x-rays)
  • Obtaining the names and other contact details of any witnesses
  • Receipts or records of any expenses incurred due to your injury (such as the cost of home modification, or travelling expenses)
  • Records of any lost wages due to your injury

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What can I be compensated for?

How much compensation is received will vary depending on your circumstances and is based on the amount of harm or loss you have suffered.

You may receive compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (both past and in future)
    This may include hospital fees, doctors fees, cost of medication etc
  • Loss of earnings (both past and in future)
    This may include time off work, loss of overtime or additional hours, or even a loss of a potential promotion
  • Care and assistance
    Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to seek assistance from other people to help with household duties
  • Home modification
    Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to make modifications to your home in order to accommodate your injuries (such as installing a ramp)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Who pays the compensation?

Supermarkets will usually have Public Liability insurance, and therefore their insurance company will usually pay out the Public Liability claim settlement.

How long will a claim take?

The duration of the claim will usually depend on the severity of your injuries. In cases where your injury is minor and a quick recovery is made, a settlement can usually be made quickly. In cases where your injury is quite substantial and persistent, it may be best that the claim take longer in order to determine the true long-term nature of your injuries, and ensure that you receive a fair amount of compensation accordingly.

Are there time limits to Public Liability Claims?

Yes, strict time limits do apply in making a claim. If you believe you are eligible to make a Public Liability Claim, contact Schreuder Partners to ensure you have not lost the chance to receive compensation for your injuries.

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