A slip at a shop makes many people instantly think they are entitled to compensation from that shop. This is not necessarily the case.
In addition to needing to satisfy the requirement of being granted a Significant Injury Certificate, anyone injured in a shop needs to prove that it was the shop's fault that they slipped over.
The simple presence of something slippery on the floor, such as a wet spill or a grape does not mean that fault is proven. Whether the store owner or workers should or could have prevented the slippery surface will need to be closely examined. We need to prove that they knew or ought to have known about the slippery substance and should have done something about it, but did not.
For example, if a shopper is walking through a grocery store, and a grape inadvertently drops out of their trolley and the shopper following behind slips on the grape on the floor and injures themselves, it could not be said that the store owner or workers could have done anything to prevent that. Even if the person who slipped has suffered severe injuries, they will not be entitled to any compensation for these injuries. This is because it could not be said that it was the shops fault. In order to have prevented this slip, a staff member would have had to be following every customer in the store to check whether they had dropped anything to clean up after them.
In a recent NSW case against Woolworths, a lady who slipped on a grape was awarded $151,000 in pain and suffering compensation. This was appealed by Woolworths and Woolworths won, meaning the lady now receives nothing.
The reason the case against Woolworths was lost was because:
- The slip happened not long after opening and there was no evidence that any of the staff could have made the grape fall onto the floor;
- The grape was unlikely to have been on the floor before opening; and
- Staff looking for grapes on the floor could have been impeded by customers, trolleys and baskets before the lady fell.
Cases involving injuries suffered in a slip in a public place can be more complex than they seem.
Call one of the expert lawyers at Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers for free, no obligation advice on (03) 9321 9988. We will fully investigate your prospects of success in getting compensation.