For many of us, grocery shopping is a chore – popping into your local supermarket now and then is a necessity, and we generally prefer to do all our shopping in one place.
While supermarkets are required to adhere to rigid safety regulations, accidents do happen. It is easy to take the blame on yourself. Your first instinct may be to dust yourself off and get on with your day (and silently pray that no one noticed). But these accidents can cause significant injuries and lead to long term problems.
If you were injured because these regulations weren’t followed, you may be eligible to make a supermarket accident claim.
Indeed, supermarkets are generally safe and adhere to these strict regulations in the interest of public safety. Unfortunately, accidents still happen, and hundreds of shoppers suffer slips, trips, falls, and other supermarket accidents each year.
No one expects to be injured while doing their weekly shopping, and these injuries can be quite serious. Falling in a supermarket can hurt more than just your pride and leave you out of pocket in the process.
It makes no difference if you were injured at the local corner shop or a nationwide chain such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi or Lidl. If you have been injured as a result of negligence by the store, you have a very good chance to make a supermarket accident claim.
Claiming can feel overwhelming and stressful, especially during the difficult time while you are recuperating. Still, the compensation can go a long way to restore your dignity (and any related expenses, of course).
In this guide, we will cover the A-Z of supermarket accidents, so that you can know what to expect and how to proceed.
If you are ready to find out if you have a valid claim for supermarket accident compensation, enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back. Alternatively, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to an experienced legal adviser now.
Am I eligible to make a supermarket accident claim?
In a nutshell, if you were injured while shopping and the supermarket failed to exercise their duty of care towards you, you are likely eligible to make a supermarket accident claim.
Personal injury solicitors operate on a no win no fee basis, so they will thoroughly assess the qualifying criteria to determine if you may have a valid claim.
Your first port of call should be an experienced solicitor who will guide you through every step in the process, and fight in your corner for the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Luckily, it is not hard to prove that supermarkets have a duty of care – they are legally obligated to ensure that customers are safe while on their premises, as per the Occupiers Liability Act 1957. They owe a duty of care to members of staff too.
Therefore, if you slipped in a supermarket and injured yourself, or had any other type of accident that wasn’t your fault, don’t suffer in silence.
Contact an experienced legal adviser by calling free on 0800 678 1410 or request a call back using our online claim form. You can find out within minutes if you have a valid claim and ask any questions you may have.
What evidence do I need to support a supermarket accident claim?
The success of any personal injury claim rests on being able to prove that an injury occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence. To help matters along and to enable your solicitor to deal with the case as swiftly as possible, you should try to do the following;
- Take photographs of the scene as soon as possible, before anyone tampers with the area, remove obstacles, or puts up warning signs.
- Inform the floor manager or customer services immediately if an incident occurs, and ask them to record it officially. Most big retailers keep an accident book or accident report form.
- Take photos of your injuries if they are immediately visible, along with the recovery process.
- Get the details of any witnesses. This will greatly bolster your case.
- Make a note of the name and address of the supermarket where the accident happened.
- Take note of any CCTV cameras that may have captured your accident.
- Write your own record of the event while it is still fresh in your memory, including what happened, when it happened, and the injuries you suffered as a result.
- Get a copy of any medical records that relate to the injury.
It can be difficult to keep your wits about you, as your instincts scream to collect yourself and make a hasty exit. But while these tasks may seem tiresome, it goes a long way to prove negligence and improve your chances exponentially of making a successful injury compensation claim.
Your solicitor will review the evidence to determine the validity of the claim before you proceed. They will also help you collect any further evidence required to support your claim during the process.
It is also worth mentioning that you should not say anything to brush off the accident. While adrenaline and a good dose of embarrassment are pumping, you might want to excuse yourself for being clumsy. Do not admit to anything or sign any release that could impact your future claim.
What are the legal responsibilities of supermarkets?
As we’ve touched on, all supermarkets have a legal duty of care to any person on their premises. This includes ensuring your safety as far as possible, and making sure there are no slip, trip or obstruction hazards.
Not to bore you with the legislation technicalities, but you can find more details in different pieces of legislation, which we will briefly cover below:
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 clearly states that employers should make sure that the premises are properly maintained and safe for any person on site.
This overlaps with the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 that states that those responsible for the upkeep should take reasonable steps to ensure that it is safe for visitors. In other words, if the supermarket knew about the hazard but didn’t do anything to prevent it, they are neglecting their legal duty. They can then be held liable for any accident that is caused as a result of this negligence.
Another legislation that comes to your aid is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Act 1999. Employers must assess risks (yes, this includes the risk of slips and falls) and take preventative measures.
Finally, we have the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Act 1992. This states that the surface areas must be kept in good condition and free from obstructions and hazards.
As you can see, all these acts together work specifically to prevent accidents from happening, and place a duty of care on supermarkets to provide a safe environment for shoppers and employees alike.
So if you have been injured in a supermarket due to their negligence, chances are very likely that you would have a valid claim for personal injury compensation.
Common types of supermarket accidents
Supermarkets are packed from corner to corner with everything from food and drink to clothing, cleaning products, toys and electrical goods.
With thousands of customers visiting supermarkets every day and an army of employees, accidents are unfortunately a fairly common occurrence.
Hundreds of liquid based products, aisles of freezers and potentially thousands of wet footprints during wet weather make supermarkets susceptible to wet floors. Combined with sleek floor tiles, spillages and wet floors are a recipe for disaster, especially when left unattended without any warning.
The duty of care supermarkets owe to you includes cleaning those spillages and wet floors as soon as possible, and warning signs should be clearly visible.
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common causes of supermarket accidents but are by no means the only culprit. Untidy supermarkets are not acceptable, and uneven floors and hidden obstacles frequently lead to trips.
Damaged or faulty shelving can also be to blame for injuries. Shelves should be stable to prevent the contents from raining down on top of you. Wobbly and damaged shelves can also lead to trapped fingers, sprains, cuts, and bruises.
Warehouse cage accidents also occur more frequently than you might think. Wheeled cages are used in bigger stores to move stock to and from the warehouse to the supermarket floor. Because of the size of these cages, they can be accidentally pushed into you, or the contents could spill onto you.
Supermarket employees should also be trained on how to move and handle heavy items, and they should be provided with the necessary tools and training to move awkward loads.
Employees are also eligible to make a supermarket accident claim if they suffered an injury on duty as a result of their employer’s negligence.
The crux of the matter is whether the injury and the hazard causing it was avoidable. If it was, your case is looking good. Shop owners need to understand the importance of regular risk assessment and proper cleaning regimes to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.
If you have sustained an injury whilst working or shopping in a supermarket within the last three years, you could be entitled to compensation. If you would like to speak to a legal adviser to find out where you stand, call free on 0800 678 1410 or request a call back.
How much compensation can I get for a supermarket accident?
It is not always clear cut to provide you with a ballpark figure if you suffer an accident in a supermarket. Your personal injury solicitor will base the amount of compensation on two factors; general and special damages.
The pain you have suffered from your injury (not just physical, but psychological as well) will be considered under general damages. An independent medical professional will assess the extent of your injuries and give a proper prognosis on which to base your claim.
The amount you can claim for the general damages portion of your compensation award is based on figures published by the Judicial College each year. They provide the legal industry with guideline compensation amounts that should be awarded for all different injuries and based on the severity of each.
Special damages will take care of any expenses, financial losses and other related costs incurred as a result of your accident and injury. This can include, but is not limited to, private medical treatment, travel costs to the medical facility, care costs and loss of earnings if you have to take time off work.
As you can see, the amount of compensation you are eligible for is highly personal, dependent on your unique circumstances. If you would like a rough estimate, you are welcome to use any of the online personal injury calculators, but you should be aware that these figures are mere guidelines.
For a more accurate assessment of the possible compensation amount you could be entitled to, it is best to speak to an experienced injury lawyer. They will be able to fully assess your injuries and losses to provide a more accurate indication of how much you could expect to receive.
How long does a supermarket injury claim take?
Again, this really depends on a myriad of factors. Claims can be approved relatively quickly (in a matter of weeks) if the negligent party accepts full responsibility for the accident. This will obviously be delayed if there is a dispute as to who was at fault.
The severity of your injuries will also play a determining factor. Your medical assessment report can take anywhere between a few days to a few months, and in complex cases, can be ongoing.
To get the most out of your claim, it should ideally only be settled once the full extent of your suffering is known. Your solicitor needs to consider your future medical expenses, loss of income, and any other support you may need.
The potential waiting period should not discourage you from making a claim. Providing evidence to support your claim and quick responses to any requests for information can help to speed up the claims process.
Can I make a supermarket accident claim on a no win no fee basis?
Yes, most personal injury solicitors operate on a no win no fee basis. So, you can rest comfortably knowing that pursuing a supermarket accident claim will not leave you out of pocket.
With a no win no fee claim, there are no upfront costs. Any fees payable to your solicitor will come from your compensation award only if the claim is successful. This fee is agreed upon before you start proceedings and is a fixed percentage (up to a maximum of 25%).
If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay your solicitor a penny, which is welcome peace of mind for most claimants.
As the solicitor will only get paid if your claim is successful, they will thoroughly assess your case to determine your chance of success before taking on your claim.
Can I make a claim on behalf of someone else?
Suffering from an injury is frustrating enough, but you can feel hopeless if you see a loved one suffering as a result of someone else’s negligence.
That doesn’t mean your hands are tied – if your loved one or child took a nasty fall in a supermarket, a solicitor can also help you claim compensation on their behalf. Likewise, you are allowed to claim on behalf of someone who is mentally incapacitated.
Even if you apply on behalf of someone else, the no win no fee basis will still apply. If you do instigate a claim on behalf of someone else, you will be known as the “litigation friend.” This is a big responsibility, and you should understand what you are in for.
Compensation claims can be an emotional ride, and you have to act solely in the best interest of the person you are representing. You will also have to make difficult decisions, like accepting or rejecting the settlement amount, attending hearings, and signing legal documents.
Carefully consider if you are up to the task, and remember that your solicitor will be there to help, advise and support you along the way.
How long do I have to make an injury claim against a supermarket?
With most personal injury claims, you will have three years from the date of the incident to make a successful claim. There are certain concessions if you are acting as the litigation friend in the case of a minor or someone who suffers from mental impairment.
When claiming on behalf of a child, you can start legal action at any point before their 18th birthday. After this point, your child will have a further three years to make their own claim (providing a claim has not already been made on their behalf).
It may seem like a long time, but it is imperative that you don’t drag your feet and get the claim in order within the time frame. Making your claim as soon as possible while the events are still fresh in your mind can improve your chances of a successful claim.
If a claim against a supermarket is not made within the relevant timeframe, you will, unfortunately, lose your right to compensation.
Do I still have a case if warning signs were clearly displayed?
This situation gets a little bit more complicated. If there was a hazard without any warning signs, you have a strong case. The store clearly didn’t execute its duty of care and can be held liable for your injuries.
However, let’s consider another scenario. The person directly in front of you drops a tray of eggs, causing you to immediately slip and fall. There was no time for staff to be made aware of the hazard, clean it up, or put up any warning signs.
In this case, the store did not breach its duty and cannot be held partially or entirely responsible. A solicitor will best advise you on the course of action available to you, if any.
You may still be able to make a claim even if the hazard was clearly labelled. Again, this depends on the situation. Let’s assume the supermarket had, say, a leak that drips onto the floor. If they called someone to repair the leak and erected a sign, they have their bases covered, and you may not have a valid claim.
However, if they simply put up a sign without bothering to have the leak repaired, they are still breaching their duty of care towards you. In the latter scenario, they have not removed the hazard within a reasonable time.
Start your supermarket accident claim today
The biggest mistake many victims make is trying to deal with the store directly. While the supermarket may be apologetic and even sympathetic, they don’t deal with the claims themselves. The case will go to their insurer, and you will likely be left in unfamiliar territory, trying to prove your case.
It is best to have an experienced personal injury solicitor looking out for you to ensure you receive fair compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the supermarket’s negligence.
To find out if you are eligible to make a claim, simply contact 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, enter your details into our online claim form if you prefer a call back.