Supermarket accident claims
We are expert lawyers who specialise in supermarket accidents and we know how to fight & win these type of claims!
Have you had a slip in your local supermarket? May be there was a spillage in one of the aisles which had not been cleared up and perhaps there was no warning sign. However, you had the accident in the supermarket the claim is brought as an Occupier's Liability claim - but what does this mean?
Occupiers liability provides protection to 'visitors' of premises under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984.
- The 1957 Act deals with 'lawful visitors' i.e. visitors to a supermarket.
- The 1984 Act deals with trespassers i.e. an intruder on an occupier's property.
Referring back to the above scenario; the 1957 Act is going to be significant in this case.
Who is the occupier?
The Occupier is the person or persons who have overall physical control of the premises. This can be demonstrated in a case whereby there is a landlord or tenant. Even though the landlord may not physically 'occupy' the property, he owes a duty of care to any visitors to ensure that the property is safe as he has overall control of it. In supermarket claims this is very easy to determine, it would be the supermarket e.g. Tesco, Asda, Morrisons etc.
"Is there any way that the Supermarket can 'escape' liability?"
Yes, but in order for them to do so they need to be able to show that they have implemented an adequate system of inspection and cleaning. They need to prove that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that their premises are safe. If they can prove this then they will not be held liable. This point is demonstrated in the case of Ward v Tesco whereby the judge hearing the case had to make a decision as to whether or not he thought that the Defendant supermarket had a reasonable system of inspection and cleaning.
However, in many cases, these systems will not be in place or if they are, they are not implemented correctly. If this is the case, then the occupier of the premises will have failed to fulfil their duty and thus they will be liable!
The case of Jacob v Tesco demonstrated that the occupiers of supermarkets should operate more than a 'clean as you go system'. This is a system whereby Employees are asked to keep and eye out whilst fulfilling their day to day job role. If they see a spillage they are to then clean it up and report it. The judge in the case outlined that supermarkets should include specific walked inspections as part of their cleaning system.
Specific walked inspections should usually be carried out every hour. It is important to remember, however, that some judges will be satisfied with a 'clean as you go' system and will require very little evidence to satisfy them that reasonable systems have been implemented.
Is there any evidence I can gather to help support my case?
In addition to obtaining evidence from the Defendant's store directly, you could go back to the supermarket where the incident occurred and observe over a great period of time how long it takes for spillages to be dealt with. If you confirm your findings in a witness statement this could be definitive in deciding your claim.
It is also worth investigating whether or not the supermarket has any contracts with cleaning companies. If so, how often do they go into the store to clean? Are they employed to be in store all day or do they have contracts with other companies also which restricts their time? When in store, what are their duties? Do they just walk the aisles or do they have other duties such as cleaning the toilets?
Finding out the above facts, can again make or break a supermarket accident claim. If the correct systems are not in place then the Defendant's are far more likely to fail in putting forward a successful Defence.
Referring back to the above scenario, the first point of call would be to obtain details of the supermarket's inspections records and details of the systems they have in place with regards to inspections.
At The Injury Lawyers we specialise in Supermarket accidents we know how to bring these claims and how to scrutinise any Defence the supermarket may put forward.
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