Unfortunately, hundreds of shoppers are injured in supermarkets every year – and these injuries can be quite serious. They’re often caused by wet floors, obstacles in the aisles, falling objects and broken pavement in the carpark.
All supermarket and shop owners have a duty of care to make sure shoppers are safe. It makes no difference whether you were injured in a Tesco, ASDA, Aldi, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Waitrose or any other local supermarket – if the shop doesn’t take reasonable care and you’ve been injured as a result, then there’s a good chance you could make a compensation claim.
Claiming can feel seem like an added stress at an already difficult time, but compensation can help you get things back to how they were before your accident. The money you receive can cover the costs your injury has caused, as well as the wider effects it’s had on your life.
For free, no-obligation legal advice, you can get in touch with 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.
An expert solicitor will most likely be able to help you make your claim on a no win no fee basis. Put simply, this means if you don’t win, then you won’t have to pay your solicitor’s fee.
When you speak to an adviser, they’ll be able to let you know whether they think your supermarket claim will be successful. But if you don’t end up getting any compensation, the no win no fee promise means that you won’t have to pay any money.
With no win no fee, there aren’t any upfront charges or hidden costs either. If you do win your case, your solicitor will charge you a ‘success fee’ as a percentage of the compensation you receive, but this will only take up a maximum of 25% – so you’ll still get to keep most of it.
Even though most people frequently visit supermarkets without suffering any kinds of accident, there are a lot of hazards which can cause painful injuries – especially if health and safety rules haven’t been followed.
For example, you can slip on spilt liquids, trip over a damaged piece of flooring, fall over boxes that have just been emptied by shelf fillers, cut yourself on broken shelving or trolleys, and badly stacked shelves can also sometimes collapse.
Most supermarket slips happen on wet floors, while most trips are caused by general untidiness in the supermarket.
Regular risk assessments are very important, so that supermarket management are aware of the risks and can manage them properly. For example, these types of accidents can often be avoided by taking precautions such as having mats to give extra grip in store entrances, training staff properly, and having proper cleaning regimes to clean up spillages quickly.
The question is – was the hazard avoidable? If it was, and you suffered injury as a result, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to claim.
If you’re injured in a supermarket slip, trip or fall, there are a couple of things you can do to help with your claim.
First, you should report the accident to the manager or customer service desk. This will usually include filling out an accident report form. But if the supermarket doesn’t have forms, then you should ask the manager to properly record what happened in the store’s accident book. Having an official record of the accident will help if your claim goes to court.
You should also find out if there were any shoppers who saw your accident happen. Ask for their names and contact information so that they can confirm your accident as witnesses if needed.
If possible, you should also take photos of the scene of the accident – perhaps of the wet floor without a warning sign or the broken pavement in the carpark. By gathering evidence of the accident, you have a better chance of winning your case.
Although it’s easy to just pass off a slip in a supermarket as an unavoidable accident, the truth is that these types of accidents can often cause serious injuries, especially if the person involved is older or landed badly.
Figures collected by NHS Digital – a body which collates figures on patient interaction with hospitals in the UK – reveal that falls which took place involving slipping, tripping or stumbling on the same level resulted in 100,692 admissions to hospital during the year 2018-19. Other figures collected in 2013 found that the top three injuries caused by apparently trivial falls of this kind were:
All supermarkets have a legal duty of care to make sure you’re as safe as possible – and this involves taking measures to avoid slips, trips and falls. The rules they should follow are included in a few different pieces of legislation:
The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 states that the people responsible for the upkeep of any premises should take reasonable steps to make sure it’s safe for anyone who visits. This means that if a supermarket knew about a hazard but didn’t do anything about it, then they’ve acted negligently.
This overlaps with the legislation set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which says that employers in any workplace should make sure the premises is properly maintained and in a safe condition both for members of staff and anyone affected by their work. This duty includes taking steps to control the risk of slips and trips.
Also, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess risks, including the risks or trips and slips, and take steps to deal with them; and The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that floors have to be in good condition and free from obstructions, allowing people to move around safely.
Taken together, this adds up to a powerful network of legislation. If the supermarket where your accident happened failed to meet these standards then it’s likely you’ve been the victim of negligence.
If your accident is more than a minor one, the supermarket operator is legally required to tell the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about the accident within 10 days. If you’ve had hospital treatment, for example, the HSE must be told and the supermarket should then keep a record of its report.
So, if you went to hospital after the incident, your solicitor should be able to get a copy of the report to the HSE along with any reports written by the HSE itself. These will both be important evidence to strengthen your claim.
Any injury can be very frustrating, but it can be especially difficult to see somebody close to you suffering – particularly if it was due to somebody else’s negligence. If your child or a loved one was injured due to a slip or trip, a solicitor can help you make a case on their behalf.
They can also help you claim for someone who is mentally incapacitated and so can’t do so by themselves. In these cases, no win no fee is available in the exactly the same way as if they could make the claim personally.
If you can, it’s best to get in touch with a trained legal adviser as soon as possible, because you only have three years after your accident (or three years from the date you knew the supermarket’s negligence caused your injury or condition) to start a claim. After three years, you can be ‘time-barred’ and might not be able to claim compensation.
If you’re claiming for a child, you have until they reach 18 years old to make a claim (they then have until they are 21 to make a claim in their own name). 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’ve regained their mental capacity.
For free advice, or to find out whether you could make a claim, you can speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or enter your details in the claim form on this page.
We know that making a claim can feel daunting. We're here to help with that. When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partner is National Accident Helpline – 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 Helpline may pay us a marketing fee if you decide to proceed with your case.
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.