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Shop Accident Claims

Claiming for injuries in a shop accident

A shopping spree is a chore to some and a joy to others, but whatever your stance, you do expect to be safe on a trip to the shops. Sadly, accidents can happen when you’re out at the stores – which can result in very nasty injuries indeed.

If you are hurt as a result of an accident in a shop that wasn’t your fault, you have every right to seek some sort of redress – usually in the form of compensation – especially if you are left financially hard up because you’re unable to work as a result of your injury.

Making a compensation claim at such a stressful time may seem daunting to some, even more so if all you want to do is try to recuperate at home, but the compensation you receive could help ensure you don’t lose out financially as a result of your injury, compensate you for the wider effect it has had on your life, and pay for any additional medical treatment or rehabilitation you require to get back on your feet.

For free, no-obligation legal advice, you can contact a trained legal adviser now on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in the online claim form to arrange a call back.

What are common causes of shop accidents?

Accidents in stores can happen in a variety of ways but some of the most common causes include:

  • being struck by falling goods which have not been stacked properly;
  • slipping on spillages that has not been cleaned up or sign-posted;
  • tripping over items – such as boxes, stock, rubbish or packaging – which are blocking aisles
  • having precariously placed mannequins fall on you;
  • tripping over loose carpeting or uneven flooring;
  • falling on slippery or eroded steps;
  • cutting yourself on sharp objects left lying around;
  • tripping, slipping or falling on escalators;
  • hurting yourself on badly assembled shelves;

These sorts of accidents can result in a range of injuries – from minor cuts, bruises, lacerations or sprains, to more serious harm such as broken or fractured bones, head injuries, or even spinal cord damage.

Been injured while working in a shop? Check out our accidents at work page.

How do I prove a shop was negligent?

To prove negligence you need to show that the person responsible for your injuries owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty and you were injured as a result of this breach. All shop owners or occupiers owe their workers and customers a duty of care. This means they are legally obliged under health & safety laws such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 to take reasonable steps to ensure that you and other visitors are as safe as possible when you visit their shop.

This would involve:

  • conducting regular risk assessments of the premises and minimising any risks identified;
  • making sure that all fixtures, fittings and equipment used by customers are regularly checked to ensure they are safe;
  • not leaving blockages in the shopping aisles or customer toilets;
  • making sure that shelves are put up correctly and stocked safely;
  • ensuring that any spillages are cleaned up promptly and warning signs erected until the affected area dries;
  • making sure that staff are fully trained so they can carry out their health & safety obligations properly;
  • acknowledging that children may be less careful than adults so ensuring the environment is safe for them too.

If a shop or store breach any of these health & safety obligations and you get hurt as a result, your claim would be brought against the shop’s owner or occupier – whoever negligently failed to ensure that you and other customers were kept safe.

The person who was responsible for your injuries would be found negligent if their actions had failed to meet the standard of what the ‘reasonable man’ or the famous ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ would do in a similar scenario.

What if the shop accident was partly my fault?

Even if you were partly to blame for your shop accident, you may still be able to make a claim for compensation; however, your final compensation package may be reduced depending on how much the court feels you were responsible for accident (known as contributory negligence). So, for example, if your accident claim is worth £20,000, and you are judged to be 40 per cent to blame and the store owner/occupier 60 per cent responsible, you would receive £12,000, rather than the £20,000 you would have received had contributory negligence not been found.

What evidence do I need to make a shop accident claim?

It is vital to collect as much evidence both at the scene of your accident and afterwards to ensure that your personal injury lawyer can make your case as robust as possible, though your lawyer may be able to collect much of this evidence on your behalf. The evidence could include:

  • noting down the names and contact details of any potential witnesses to your accident;
  • reporting your accident to the store manager or customer service desk and taking a copy of the accident report form;
  • photographing the accident scene;
  • taking photographs of your injuries;
  • asking for copies of any CCTV footage of the accident;
  • writing an account of the accident and how your injuries have affected you, mentally, physically and financially;
  • records of any medical treatment you had received after the accident;
  • details of any expenses which have arisen from your injury, such as lost earnings if you need to take time off work to recuperate.

Does the shop have to report the accident?

The shop operator must inform the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about your accident within 10 days if the injuries are more than minor – for example, if you require hospital treatment. Your injury lawyer should be able to get a copy of the report sent by the shop to the HSE, as well as any reports written by the HSE itself to further strengthen your claim.

Are there any time limits on starting a shop accident claim?

You generally have three years after your accident, or three years from the date you realise the incident caused you an injury – whichever comes later – to start a shop accident claim. After three years, you can be ‘time-barred’ under the Limitation Act 1980 and may not be able to claim compensation. If you are making a claim on a child’s behalf, you have until they reach the age of 18 (after their 18th birthday, there is a three-year limit if they want to make a claim for themselves). If you’re claiming on behalf of someone who isn’t mentally capable of doing so, this three-year period does not start until they have regained their mental capacity.

How much shop injury compensation will I receive?

The compensation you receive depends on how serious your injury is, how long it takes you to recover and how it has affected your life, but could include damages for:

  • pain and suffering, both mental and physical;
  • loss of earnings if you have to take time off work to recover;
  • additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
  • out-of-pocket expenses, such a travel costs to the hospital;
  • any adaptations required to your home or vehicle.
Get an estimate of the damages you could receive for pain and suffering using our compensation calculator.

How much will it cost me to make a shop injury claim?

You are strongly advised to get legal advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your shop accident while events are still fresh in your mind and in that of everyone else involved.

After you contact an injury lawyer, they will quickly assess whether you have a valid claim; if you do, they are likely to take your case on a no win no fee basis. This means that if you lose your case, you don’t have to pay your solicitor’s fees. There are no upfront costs and you will only pay a pre-agreed ‘success fee’ out of your compensation if you win.

Your lawyer will help you collect all the evidence you need to strengthen your case and arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will produce an official report outlining the cause of your injuries and the effect they have had on your life.

They will also make sure all the paperwork required for your claim is in order, will work hard to negotiate for the compensation you deserve, but will also be with you to offer advice and speak on your behalf if your case has to go to court.

If you would like to find out whether or not you have a case, you can contact an expert legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or enter your name and phone number in the form below to request a call back. If you wish to proceed after speaking to an adviser, they will then pass you on to a specialist injury solicitor who can help you start your claim.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.