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.
Accidents in stores can happen in a variety of ways but some of the most common causes include:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.
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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.