Going out shopping is more than a necessity. It can also be a relaxing and fun way of spending your free time. The last thing you might expect while shopping is for an accident to occur.
Accidents in shops can happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Far from being trivial, they can cause long-lasting injuries like lacerations and broken bones. If you suffered an injury in a shop, you probably feel awkward and confused and might wonder about what you should do next.
Whether you are a customer or an employee in a supermarket, shopping centre or retail shop, you deserve to feel safe.
To ensure your safety, all business owners must follow the rules set out in The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. If they failed to follow the safety regulations, causing you to get injured, you might be able to claim compensation.
A shop accident claim is a formal way of requesting compensation from the liable party. A solicitor can help you build a strong case, so you will receive the payment you deserve for the pain, suffering and other losses you incurred.
Can I make a shopping accident claim?
If you suffered an injury in a shop without being at fault, you might be entitled to make a shop accident claim. Both customers and shop workers can claim compensation, provided that:
- the accident happened in the last three years
- another party owed you a duty of care
- they neglected their duty of care, causing you to get injured
Sometimes the three-year limitation date for making a claim can vary:
- When claiming on behalf of children, you have until they turn 18. Afterwards, they have another three years to claim on their own.
- If the victim lacks the mental ability to make a shop injury claim, a litigation friend can act on their behalf at any time. Should they regain mental capacity, they have three years to claim compensation.
- If an injury was discovered later after the accident, the three-year countdown might start on the day you were diagnosed.
If you are thinking about making a shop injury claim, a solicitor can help you understand who is liable for your accident. Solicitors have the expertise to prepare all legal documents and appropriately represent you in Court if required (although this is rarely necessary).
Furthermore, you might be able to claim on a no win no fee basis. This way, you will not have to worry about paying any upfront or hidden fees. Even if you lose, you won’t have to cover any costs. If you win, the solicitor will take a success fee that you previously agreed on (up to a maximum of 25%).
In every personal injury claim, strong evidence is fundamental to success. If possible, you should try to support your shop injury claim with photographs, medical records or witness statements. Keep track of all your expenses to receive compensation for all financial losses related to the accident.
It’s essential to keep in mind that you might be able to make a shop accident claim even if you are partially to blame for the accident. In this case, however, the compensation amount may be reduced to take this into account. This is known as contributory negligence.
How are shop owners responsible for customer and staff safety?
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 regulates the owner’s liability towards visitors. A visitor is any individual who has express or implicit permission to be on the premises. According to The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, owners must take all reasonable precautions so that visitors will be safe in using the premises.
To ensure the safety of visitors, shop owners should make sure that:
- wet floors and changes in level are signposted
- there is sufficient lighting in all places
- any spills get cleaned promptly
- stairs and ramps are in good condition
- walkways and aisles are free of tripping hazards
- shelves are safely stacked
- the shop keeps a higher standard for children, who can act less careful than adults
Sometimes, the responsible party might not be the shop owner but the management, the staff or an independent contractor responsible for maintenance. The owner might still be liable if they did not verify the contractor was competent or didn’t accurately supervise their work.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 are statutory laws that regulate health and safety at the workplace within the UK. The Acts state that employers have the duty to ensure the health and safety of the employees as far as reasonably practicable. Their duties include:
- Provision and maintenance of necessary equipment
- Making sure that the handling, storage and transport of goods and substances are done safely, with no health risks
- Provision of relevant information, instruction, training and supervision
- Carrying out regular risk assessments and minimising risks
- Maintaining a clean and orderly shop environment
- Providing adequate facilities for employee welfare
If you suffer an injury in a shop because the owner failed to maintain proper standards, you may be entitled to make an accident in a shop claim. An experienced solicitor can help to determine the negligent party and let you know if you are entitled to compensation.
What are common causes of shop accident claims?
Shops and shopping centres don’t commonly identify as dangerous places. Nonetheless, a survey by RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) proves the opposite. The wholesale and retail trade & repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles ranks first, with 97,401 non-fatal injuries in 2018/2019.
If an owner doesn’t follow the health and safety rules dictated by the legislation, shoppers are at risk of suffering an injury in any shop. This includes pet shops, gift shops, supermarkets, clothing shops, hardware stores and any other shops, no matter how big or small they are.
Common causes that could lead to a shop accident claim from customers and shop workers alike are:
Slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls are the number one cause of workplace accidents, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics. Shop owners and managers must take all necessary measures to prevent it from happening.
Most trips and slips are preventable and are caused by:
- Uneven steps or pavements
- Wet or slippery floors or stairs
- Unmarked changes in levels
- Insufficient lighting
- Poor housekeeping
- Items left in the aisles
- Loose carpeting and floor tiles
The staff responsible for housekeeping should always clean up spillages immediately and signpost any possible hazards. If you suffered an injury in a shop after a slip, trip or fall, you could be eligible to make a shop accident claim.
Getting struck by an object
Many shop owners are trying to stack as many products as possible in a limited space. If the shelves are loaded inappropriately, this could lead to items falling over onto customers or employees, causing them to get injured.
A heavy object falling from a height can cause severe trauma. To manage the risk of falling objects, stores should take the following precautions:
- store heavier objects near the ground and lighter objects higher
- make sure items are stable and will not fall
- make certain that tall or self-standing objects like mannequins are stable, even if knocked
- carefully consider the stacking method they use
- give special attention to the handling and movement of goods
- hanging signs should be properly secured so they may not fall
Customers can also get injured by an employee moving racks or trolleys or carrying out routine tasks like cleaning and stock replenishment.
Poorly built shelves might collapse and injure customers and staff members. A manufacturer company might be liable for the accident in this situation.
Falls from heights
Working at height can be very dangerous without taking appropriate safety measures. Any activity above ground level is considered work at height. In the UK, working above 2 meters requires special safety measures, like protective equipment.
Employees might be at risk of falling from a height in a shop when carrying out activities like:
- cleaning and maintenance
- product display
- setting promotional banners or signs
- refurbishment and stock-picking
- store layout
Once the risks of working at height have been identified, shop owners should find and enforce suitable safety measures. This includes:
- proper staff training and information
- providing the correct equipment for the job
- hire appropriate personnel to carry out the job
- regular inspections of the equipment
- developing a health and safety policy
You deserve to feel safe and protected while carrying out an activity at a height. You have the right to refuse to perform a task if you think that it might put you at risk.
Lifting and handling
Heavy lifting and manual handling of items can cause shop workers to get injured. Employers must provide training on how to correctly lift, push, pull, put down and move an object to avoid injuries. When required, they should also supply moving and handling equipment.
Manual handling injuries can be caused by:
- not enough breaks during a prolonged period of intense activity
- handling items in a slippery environment, which can increase the chances of a slip and fall accident
- lack of proper equipment when handling heavy objects
Risk factors for injuries include the item weight, how far it is from the ground, the distance you have to carry it, the twisting or bending required to pick up the object.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, your employer has the legal duty to minimise risks and keep you safe.
You are entitled to claim compensation if you were the victim of an assault while working in a shop. The assailant could be a violent colleague or a customer. Your employer might be held responsible in certain circumstances, including when:
- Working alone or understaffed, which makes you particularly vulnerable to offences and violent behaviour
- They fail to take action against staff or clients that acted violently in the past
- They don’t provide proper training or PPE (personal protective equipment). It is important to receive training on how to diffuse potentially dangerous situations when you are likely to encounter angry, violent or troublesome clients. Employers must make sure that safety equipment such as panic alarms are functional.
You deserve to feel safe when being in a shop as either a worker or a customer. If you suffered an injury in a shop due to the owner’s negligence, you deserve compensation.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
What are common injuries caused by shopping accidents?
While shops are generally considered safe environments, overlooking safety issues can cause workers and customers to get injured. The number one cause of accidents in a shop is poor housekeeping, which can lead to a slip, trip and fall accident.
Most often, the injuries caused by a slip and fall are minor. However, sometimes you may not be so lucky and could suffer severe trauma that permanently affects your life.
Common injuries include:
- Cuts, bruises and abrasions, ranging from minor to severe. Even small cuts might require medical assistance for proper cleaning and disinfecting. Lacerations can be very traumatising and might leave permanent scars and disfigurements.
- Sprains and strains. Most sprains and strains will heal after two weeks but can disrupt basic daily activities like walking or doing manual labour. Severe injuries might take a lot longer to heal. You may require surgery and years of physiotherapy.
- Shoulder or neck injuries. It’s common to fall on your shoulder after a slip or trip. Common injuries of the shoulder include dislocations, nerve damage and collarbone fractures. Neck injuries can be very dangerous. If there’s damage to the cervical spine, that could lead to paralysis.
- Limb fractures. The force of the impact with the ground can cause bones in the hands, arms or legs to fracture. The elderly are particularly susceptible to bone fractures. After a limb fracture, you will probably have to wear a cast for weeks or months. Some people might experience chronic pain and reduced mobility afterwards.
- Broken hips or pelvis. Fractures of the hips and pelvis are common in seniors and people who suffer from bone-weakening diseases. They almost always require surgery and a lengthy recovery period and might permanently affect mobility.
- Spinal cord injuries. If you fall on your back after a trip or slip, you might suffer spinal cord injuries like damage to the vertebrae or slipped discs. In the most unfortunate situations, it can cause paralysis. Muscle spasm and fatigues are common side-effects of a spine injury.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries range from bumps, bruises and minor concussions to severe injuries like skull fractures, hematomas or haemorrhages. The latter can impact brain functions and even be life-threatening.
Getting hit by a falling object, falling from a height , poor manual handling, and assaults can also cause minor to severe injuries like:
- cuts, bruises and lacerations
- bone fractures
- soft tissue damage
- spinal cord injuries
- facial injuries
- head and brain injuries
- limb muscles injuries
- damage to internal organs
- back and neck problems
Injuries caused by shop accidents might have long term effects on your health, causing:
- Constant pain and suffering from the injury
- Psychological damage
- Life-changing physical damage
- Reduced earning potential
- Inability to continue with your professional career
If you suffered an injury in a shop without being at fault, you deserve compensation for your pain and suffering. If you feel you may have a valid shop accident claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How do I make a shop accident claim?
There are many laws concerning personal injuries in public places. If you suffered an accident in a shop and are thinking about claiming compensation, you might find yourself at a loss.
Contacting an experienced solicitor could be essential in securing a successful claim. They have the expertise to determine if you have a valid claim, who is liable for your injuries and how much compensation you could receive.
By reaching a no win no fee agreement, you don’t even have to worry about any charges, even in the unlikely event of losing the claim. Hiring a legal adviser will save you a lot of time and effort so you can focus on your recovery.
After speaking with a solicitor and determining negligence, you will need indisputable evidence to validate your claim. Your solicitor can assist in collecting proof, speaking with witnesses, and making sure all the paperwork is in order.
They will also arrange a free medical assessment with a certified specialist to get a thorough diagnosis of your injuries. You will receive a medical certificate that will serve as evidence of your injuries to support your shop accident claim.
If the liable party accepts responsibility, your solicitor will begin to negotiate your compensation award. If you can’t reach an understanding with the defendant, the case will be brought to the Court to be settled by a judge. Nonetheless, most claims are settled in the negotiation stage.
If the defendant denies liability, you will need all the evidence you can gather to fight your claim. Having all the facts at hand, your solicitor will start negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company. If they continue to deny liability, the case will be brought before a judge.
How much compensation can I claim for an accident in a shop?
When thinking about making an accident in a shop claim, your first thought might be about how much compensation you could receive.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. Many factors can influence the final compensation amount, including the severity of your injury, how it affected your life, and the financial losses it caused you.
In a personal injury claim, you can ask for compensation for:
Special damages or quantifiable losses such as:
- medical treatments, including surgery and medication
- hospitalisation, physiotherapy and rehabilitation costs
- the costs of modifications to your home or vehicle
- lost earning, including future wages you might lose if you need an extended recovery period
- transportation costs
General damages or non-financial losses, including:
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional and psychological distress
- scarring and disfigurement
- impacts on social life, hobbies, and sports
- reduced quality of life
- impacts on your family and close ones
It is not as easy to calculate a suitable compensation for general damages. The amounts published by the Judicial College are used as a guideline when negotiating compensation awards. You could get:
- £90,320 to £127,530 for a severe leg injury with permanent loss of mobility
- £7,410 to £11,980 for a minor shoulder injury with complete recovery within two years
- £13,920 to £24,580 for a moderate knee injury leading to a minor future disability
- Around £139,210 for a severe neck injury that might cause permanent loss of function or disability
- £26,050 to £36,390 for moderate back injuries with mild chronic pain and disability
- £140,870 to £205,580 for moderate head injury leading to reduced quality of life, but with complete recovery in the future
- £264,650 to £379,100 for severe brain damage, leaving the victim in a vegetative state
An experienced solicitor can give you an approximation of the compensation award you could receive based on the extent of your injuries and how they affected your life.
What evidence will I need to make a shop accident claim?
When you have an accident, the first thing you need to do is check yourself for injuries. If you are badly hurt, you or someone else needs to call an ambulance and get proper medical assistance.
If you are safe and have managed to recover from the shock, you should collect as much evidence as you can at the site of the accident. This will serve as valuable support if you decide to make a shop accident claim.
You should try to take some or all of the following steps:
- photograph the accident scene
- take the names and contact details of any possible witnesses
- take photos of your injuries and the recovery process
- when available, ask for copies of any CCTV footage of the accident
- file an accident report with the store manager
- keep a written record of the accident and how it affected you personally, socially and financially
- keep records of medical treatments and interventions
- Make a note of your expenses
- keep track of lost earnings
Strong evidence is essential to win a compensation claim when the defendant doesn’t accept responsibility. Even if you think you have little or no proof, a solicitor can help put together a strong case so you can get the compensation you deserve.
For more information about claiming and getting started with your shop accident claim, call free on 0800 678 1410. Alternatively, fill out our online form, and you will receive a call back from a legal adviser.