Unfortunately, accidents and injuries can still occur even in places where you should have the right to feel safe. It is not uncommon for people to experience slips and falls in public places (such as your local supermarket) which can often lead to more serious back, neck or head injuries. If you are a victim of a slip and fall case, you may be entitled to make a slip and fall injury claim and receive compensation for your injuries. Read on to find out more about what you must prove to win a slip and fall injury claim.
What is a slip and fall injury 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 slip and fall injury claim. This claim is brought against the party at fully or partly fault for failing to take reasonable care of you, such as by failing to reasonably ensure a safe environment free from spillage or slippery surfaces. If your claim is successful, the claim settlement will compensate you for all your related injuries and losses.
What must be proven for a slip and fall injury claim?
If you have sustained an injury on public property, this alone is not enough to lodge a slip and fall injury claim – your injury also needs to be the result of another party’s negligence. For negligence to be established, there are three criteria to be met:
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. For example, a supermarket will owe a duty of care towards all of its customers and staff, as it is reasonably foreseeable that they will be on the supermarket premises. This duty of care means that they must ensure the safety and well-being of those people.
The party at fault breached that duty of care
A breach of duty of care means that the negligent party has not taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those to which they owe a duty of care. A common example is where supermarkets deviate from reasonable practices, such as not having floors cleaned from spillage or not having warning signs or barriers placed around potential hazards, and this will constitute a breach.
You were injured or suffered loss as a result of the breach of duty of care
This may pertain to a physical or psychological injury, damage to property or economic loss.
What evidence do I need to prove my slip and fall injury claim?
You should begin collecting evidence for your slip and fall injury claim as soon as possible. The evidence you can collect helps to strengthen your case against the negligent party and maximise the compensation you can receive. The evidence you should endeavour to collect includes:
- Any records of correspondence between the injured party and the party at fault
- Photographs of the location where the injury occurred, and the surroundings
- Photographs of the injury itself
- Surveillance footage of the incident
- A statement of events written by the injured party
- Medical records of your injury (such as the dates of appointments, medical certificates and x-rays)
- Names, contact details and statements from 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
Are there time limits in making a slip and fall injury claim?
Strict time limits do apply in making a slip and fall injury claim, and it is best that all claims should be made within 3 years of the incident causing the injury. If you believe you are eligible to make a claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you have not lost the chance to receive compensation for your injuries. Although you have up to 3 years to undertake any legal action, it is best to start a claim as soon as possible, as the claims process itself can be complex and may take more time than anticipated.