You slip on a wet supermarket floor or on a grape that fell out of the packaging, causing you to fall. What are your rights when you’re injured at the supermarket? Who’s to blame when these types of accidents happen? And if you are on the receiving end of a fall, what happens if the supermarket tries to get you to sign a release form?
Like most commercial shopping centres, supermarkets invite the public to do business on their premises. That means they have a duty of care to their shoppers to ensure they remain free of injury.
But that doesn’t mean a supermarket is always liable in the case of an injury. It depends on how the accident occurs.
Say, for instance, you’re running through the supermarket in a rush to buy something, and you are not keeping a lookout for where you are going. If you injure yourself or someone else while doing this, especially if you were pushing a trolley and knock someone, you would be seen as liable for that injury.
There are plenty of ways a supermarket may cause injury. These can include:
Injuries in one of these situations are, sadly, not uncommon.
June reached out for legal support after she slipped on a grape while pushing her trolley through a supermarket. June fell heavily on her right hip and experienced immediate pain. Unfortunately, June ended up having to have a total hip replacement. We successfully sued the supermarket on her behalf to compensate June for her medical expenses and the pain and suffering caused by her injuries.
In another recent example, we helped Wendy, an elderly woman who injured her shoulder when a supermarket employee rammed a fully loaded stock trolley into her because the employee could not see her as he pushed it down the aisle. Wendy flung forward and fell to the ground, striking her shoulder against the shelves as she fell.
Slips and falls can have serious and long-lasting impacts, such as in Fatima’s case, where she slipped on a small patch of water that had been leaking from the refrigerated section of the supermarket.
The supermarket knew the fridge was leaking and should have been cordoned off to prevent shoppers from walking on or near it. Unfortunately, as a result of her slip, Fatima fractured her wrist and could not work for a significant period after her surgery. Ultimately Fatima had to resign and find a different job, which unfortunately paid significantly less.
First, if you are able to, use your phone to take a photo of whatever it was that caused your injury and the area around it before an employee removes or cleans it. You might want to consider asking any witnesses for their details in case you need to contact them.
Make sure you tell a supermarket employee or the manager exactly what happened. Give them your name, contact details, and a good description of your incident and injuries.
If you don’t feel like you can get home safely by yourself, call a relative or friend to help you get home and see your doctor as soon as possible, or ask someone to call an ambulance if you are seriously injured.
After seeking medical treatment, you should contact the supermarket, request a copy of the incident report, and ask them to keep any CCTV footage that may have recorded your incident. Try to do this as soon as possible, as most supermarkets delete footage within a few months of the incident.
Be wary of signing any sort of release form from the supermarket.
This is because these forms mostly provide an “all in” offer and include a clause that prevents you from making future claims against the store. Once you sign that release, you don’t have any options.
Supermarkets often ask you to sign a release form because they don't want to be held liable for any accident they may have caused.
The same goes for medical authority forms. Be cautious not to sign these authorities as it allows the supermarket to obtain medical reports and access all your medical records.
If you sustain a serious and permanent injury due to your incident, you may be entitled to a public liability claim. You can seek compensation for ongoing medical treatment and care, pain and suffering, and lost income.
Strict time limits apply on these types of claims, so its important to act quickly.
If you have suffered an injury at the supermarket, our public liability lawyers can support and guide you through the claim process.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.