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Accidents in Shops, Supermarkets and Car Parks

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Home » Personal Legal Services » Work, Public Places and Abroad » Accidents in Public Places » Accidents in Shops, Supermarkets and Car Parks

Shops, supermarkets and car parks can be busy places and unfortunately, accidents do happen. These accidents often happen very suddenly and can cause painful, long-lasting injuries.

Whether the incident took place in the car park, the aisles of the shops, the petrol station, in a café or anywhere on the premises of the shop or supermarket, then the shop/supermarket could be responsible.

Can I make a claim for compensation for an accident in a Shop, Supermarket or a Car Park?

Shopkeepers owe a duty of care (under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957) to make sure that you are reasonably safe in using the premises as a lawful visitor. If they fail to do this, you could be entitled to compensation for injuries suffered as a result of negligence.

“An occupier of premises has a common duty of care to all visitors to ensure that they are reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which they’ve been invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.”

This means that the owner of the shop or company are responsible for accidents that happen while you are on their premises. In order for a claim to be successful it must first be determined whether the owner/occupier failed to adhere to health and safety regulations or breached their duty of care to you.

Accidents in Shops

 

How do shop/supermarket accidents happen?

Accidents happen when safety regulations and procedures aren’t followed. For example; failing to remove hazards or spillages quickly; failing to signpost hazards or spillages; failing to follow safety practices set by the Health and Safety Executive, etc.

The most common preventable hazards in shops and supermarkets include: wet floors (without warning signs) caused by leaking freezers or the residue of cleaning products, spillages, obstacles, obstructions, uneven flooring or carpeting, and cluttered floor space. Injuries resulting from such accidents are not the fault of the victim and therefore be due some compensation.

Are supermarket car parks private land?

A car park may be private land and therefore, maintained privately by the shop/supermarket. If you have a slip outside in the car park, the shop will still be liable as they still owe a duty of care to you. This means that all road surfaces should be in a fit condition for use.

Care should also be taken in all whether conditions, for example, for ice and snow, salt and grit should be placed down. Therefore, if you slipped on ice which resulted in a personal injury, the shop or supermarket could be held liable and you may be entitled to compensation.

What evidence will I need?

Having evidence of what happened and where is crucial and this information will build a solid foundation of proof for your case, which can help your compensation claim to have a better chance of success. We recommend obtaining information on:

  • What happened – Write a detailed explanation of what happened in writing, this is a good aid for your memory. Notify staff at the supermarket or car park attendants so they can make a record of the incident, which will assist when making a claim. Ensure and accident report is completed.
  • Where it happened. – Try and document where the injury happened, by either taking photographs or drawing out a detailed sketch (including dimensions if relevant);
  • Extent of the injuries. – Seek medical attention from your own GP or Hospital, it is useful to note what injuries you have sustained. It also helps if the accident circumstances are logged in your medical records, this will help to support the fact that you have been injured.
  • Document who was involved – Obtain full names, addresses and contact details of anybody involved.
  • Witnesses. – If there were any witnesses to the incident, try to obtain their contact information.
  • CCTV – Ask for a copy of the CCTV.

Money

 

Is there a time limit for bringing a claim?

Legal proceedings must be initiated within 3 years from the date of your accident. Failure to do this may result in your claim being time-barred and you may not be able to make a claim for compensation. However, there are exceptions to the time limit:

  • Claims on behalf of children – A Litigation friend (typically a parent) can bring a claim on behalf of a child under the age of 18. The 3-year limitation period does not begin until the child reaches the age of 18. This means that the limitation period expires on the child’s 21st birthday.
  • Mental capacity– If you or the injured party lacks capacity and cannot bring a claim and manage their own affairs, the 3-year time limit will not begin until the injured person regains capacity.
  • Death – If, unfortunately, the injured party dies within the 3 years limitation period, then his dependants are able to make a claim on their behalf, the 3-year period is extended to 3 years from either the date of death.

What can I claim for?

There is no set award for what you can claim, each case is assessed individually and is dependent many things (for example, the severity of your injury and if/how long it will take you to recover). You can claim for:

General Damages

General damages are awards that are made for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity of life that are evidentially linked to the accident directly. The pain and suffering element of the award compensates the claimant for all past, present and future physical and psychiatric symptoms.

Loss of amenity means the inability to complete activities, either temporarily or permanently, after an accident, which could be undertaken before. This is an award designed to compensate you for the actual injuries suffered, and the effect those have had on your quality of life.

Special Damages

This is a head of damages to compensate for any financial losses or out-of-pocket. This would include but is not limited to:

  • Medication costs – Subject to you keeping the receipts, this is recoverable from the defendant’s insurers.
  • Treatment costs – Likewise, as long as it was reasonable that your treatment was incurred and it was caused by the injuries you sustained in the accident, we can recover this for you from the defendant’s insurers. It may be that future surgery is recommended. If that is the case, we can obtain suitable quotations and seek the funding for that surgery upfront.
  • Loss of/Damage to clothing and personal effects – These can become damaged in an accident. Whether it be torn clothing or a broken electronic device, we would always recommend that you keep the damaged item as evidence and take photographs of it in case the defendant’s insurers want to see it. If you purchase a new item to replace the damaged one, ensure to keep the receipt for the new item.
  • Lost earnings – If you have been unable to work because of your injuries, we can claim this from the defendant’s insurers. Wage slips or profit and loss accounts can be used to calculate the loss. It may be that the accident has affected your ability to work in the future. Subject to medical evidence supporting this, a claim can be submitted to the defendant’s insurers.
  • Travel expenses – We can include claims for your travel expenses. This may comprise of trips to physiotherapy, doctors’ appointments or the hospital. It may be that you have had to pay for taxi’s or busses, or that you have incurred Petrol expenses.

Slip Sign

 

What should I do after I have been injured?

Your first priority after any accident is your health. Seek medical attention by a First Aider, if one is available, and get medical advice from your GP or local hospital. It is important that your injuries are documented in your records and the circumstances surrounding how you sustained your injuries. Having documents evidence will aid you later on with the claim.

If you have been injured in a public place it is important that you report your accident to the shop as soon as possible and make sure an accident book is completed. This protects your rights by making sure that the shop/supermarket cannot deny knowledge that the accident occurred.

If I didn’t report the accident, can I still make a claim?

Without a written record of the accident taking place, the chances of winning the case goes down considerably, unless there is other compelling evidence available. Therefore, if you cannot report the incident at the time, then report the accident as soon as possible to the shop/supermarket. We recommend either sending a letter or writing an email to inform the company of the incident. This will provide them with sufficient time to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

It is crucial that you do not allow an accident to go unreported, and that there is a paper trail.

What is an accident book?

An accident book provides businesses or venues an official means of recording incidents and injuries. Accident books are legally required to prove that the company is complying with relevant health and safety legislation and helps manage the potential risks. In essence, the book serves as an impartial record of events that will serve as good evidence throughout the case.

If I must take time off work because of the accident, will I get sick pay?

This will depend on your contract with work.  You should check your contract to see whether you are entitled to sick pay. If there is no mention of sick pay within your contract, ask your manager, or check your staff handbook.

If, unfortunately, you are unable to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you might be able to claim Universal Credit or another benefit.

Will any treatment/rehabilitation be offered?

If liability is admitted in your claim, then interim payments may be obtained which can be used to fund rehabilitation, this may be in the form of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, counseling and speech therapy.

Any Claimant that continues to suffer pain and discomfort as a result of their injuries due to an incident, has the right to seek rehabilitation therapy. Rehabilitation is important to help the victim recover from their injuries as quickly as possible and return to normality sooner. This is in everybody’s best interest.

Courtroom

 

How long will my case take to run?

This depends on the nature of your claim; each claim is viewed on a case by case basis. Every personal injury claim is individual, and no two cases ever run exactly the same.

We would take your initial instructions, submit the claim to the defendants and their insurers would have up to three months to admit or deny responsibility.

  • If the opponent admits liability

Then the issue of causation will need to be proven. We will need to obtain a medical report from an independent expert. Once you are happy with the report, we will then do a valuation of what we believe the claim is worth and will disclose these documents to the defence and initiate negotiations and agree a reasonable offer from them which is agreed and paid in a timely manner.

  • If the opponent denies liability 

The claim will need to be investigated further, we will then reassess the prospects of success and if we believe these to be reasonable, we will instruct a barrister to assess the case.

Will I have to go to court?

This is unlikely, the vast majority of claims settle without the need to commence or issue court proceedings. Even if your case does commence in court, proceedings usually settle before the need of a final court hearing.

How will my case be funded?

We offer a ‘no-win, no-fee’ funding option, which means that you won’t have to pay another out of your own pocket. There are no hidden charges and we do not ask for any money upfront. The only time you will need to pay anything is if your claim is successful. The Defendant will pay the majority of our legal costs, but not fully. As such, as part of our agreement, we take a deduction from your damages.

All we ask is that you uphold your side of the agreement, and we will handle the rest. Namely that you do not mislead us, co-operate with us and attend any scheduled appointments/hearing dates. If despite this, your case is unsuccessful, there will be no charge to you.

If the case succeeds, there will be a deduction made from your damages which is discussed if your case is accepted by our firm.

Useful charities/websites

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Guidelines

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd

 

Why use Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make your case?

Our specialist solicitors know how to get you the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a public place. We have years of experience helping clients following these types of accidents and could help you successfully make a claim.

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WHAT TO DO NEXT

If you have been injured or suffered financially due to lost earnings as a result of an accident, get in touch today for a free initial consultation in complete confidence. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Emma Bell

Solicitor and Head of Employers' and Public Liability

0113 218 5706

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