What Should I Do If I am Injured In A Supermarket?

Due to the nature of wet products found in supermarkets, tall, often over-stacked shelves and hazards like trolleys and squashed, slippery produce, an injury can occur in a supermarket quite easily. So, what should you do if you are injured whilst you are at the supermarket?

In what ways could a person be injured in a supermarket?

There are several ways a person might be injured while visiting the supermarket. These include:

  • slipping on a floor where a spill or leakage has occurred;
  • slipping in an area which is being cleaned but where the worker has failed to display ‘cleaning in progress’ signs;
  • slipping in an area where non-slip mats have not been placed, such as entrance points, near wet areas like the fruit and vegetable section or other high-traffic areas on a rainy day;
  • tripping on a hazard such as a fallen item or misplaced stock; or
  • injury through the use of a defective trolley or misuse of a trolley or portable stock cart by a staff member.

When is a supermarket liable for injuries sustained in-store?

Supermarkets owe their customers a duty of care which means they must ensure that shoppers remain injury free. Despite this duty, the supermarket is not always liable if a person is injured whilst visiting the store. To determine who is at fault, the unique circumstances leading to the injury must be assessed.

If the injury occurs due to negligence or misconduct on behalf of a member of staff or a decision made by the supermarket’s management, it is likely that they will be at fault. However, if you are injured because you were carrying too many items in your arms and dropped something heavy on your foot, then it is unlikely that the supermarket will be found to be liable.

What steps should I take if I’m injured at a supermarket?

The first thing to do is take photos and/or video of the area in which you were injured and the hazard or object which caused you to be injured. You should try to seek assistance from a staff member so the area can be cleaned up or secured to ensure nobody else is injured.

If any witnesses were present, you should ask for their contact details in case their account of the incident is required.

The supermarket should be made aware of exactly what happened so that an incident report can be prepared. You should make sure an employee or the store manager has your name, contact details, your account of what happened, and the details of any immediate injuries you have sustained.

Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you do not think your injuries are serious. An injury can get worse over the course of a few hours or even a couple of days, so a record of your condition should be made.

As soon as you are able after seeking medical treatment, you should get in contact with the supermarket and ask to receive a copy of the incident report, and also a copy of any footage of the incident which may have been recorded over CCTV. The sooner you do this the more likely it is that the footage will be available.

If the supermarket asks you to sign any kind of release form or waiver do not do it. This form may limit your options to seek compensation.

Another type of form a supermarket might try to get you to sign is a medical authority form. These authorities typically allow the supermarket to obtain your medical reports and access your medical records, so it is wise not to allow this authority unless you have sought prior legal advice.

How can I lodge a claim for compensation for a supermarket injury?

If the injury you sustained in the supermarket incident was serious enough to result in time off work or a permanent injury which will affect your future earnings and quality of life, you may be entitled to a public liability claim. You may receive compensation for medical treatment, the cost of carers, current and future lost income and/or a lump sum amount for pain and suffering.

You should seek legal advice as soon as possible as strict time limits apply to public liability claims.

If you have suffered an injury at a supermarket, contact our personal injury lawyers in Cairns who can guide you through the claim process.

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