Shop Accident Claims
The Law Of… Keeping Customers Safe
Whilst shopping might seem like a fairly risk-free pursuit, accidents whilst shopping do happen, particularly at busy times of the year.
Personal Injury solicitor, Lisa Wright, provides guidance for anyone who has suffered any kind of accident whilst shopping.
What Is A Typical Shop Accident?
Slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accidents in a shopping environment. It is incredibly common for spillages to occur in shops, particularly supermarkets and if these are not dealt with in an appropriate manner, slips, trips and falls can occur.
Another fairly common accident in shops is falling objects. If a shelf has been over-stacked or incorrectly positioned, it is possible for shoppers to suffer injuries as a result of the items falling.
If a defective escalator, door or lift has gone unnoticed, this is also another potential hazard for shoppers. These sorts of accidents can be particularly dangerous, especially for young children.
Potholes and uneven surfaces in car parks can also be dangerous for shoppers. If a car park isn't maintained, slips, trips and falls can also occur outside the shops.
Avoiding A Shop Accident
As a shopper, there are steps that you can take to ensure you and fellow shoppers stay safe when attempting a spot of retail therapy.
Simple steps to avoid a shop accident include:
- Take note of signs – if a 'wet surface' sign has been used, proceed with caution. It might seem obvious, but the sign might not identify exactly where the spillage is, so it's important to avoid the sign's surrounding area completely
- Report any health and safety issues - if you see a spillage, it's a good idea to tell a member of staff. They should have people monitoring the shop, but if it is reported as soon as it happens, it could prevent any further damage
- Watch out for any risks to children - whilst you might spot a warning sign, children may not. Keep children close to you and remind them to walk when shopping. This could save them from a particularly nasty injury sustained from a slip, trip or fall.
Can I Claim For A Shop Accident?
As with any public space, shop owners have a duty of care for the people that enter their shop. They must maintain reasonably safe premises for patrons as they are liable for accidents that occur when safety measures have been ignored or missed.
A shop must demonstrate that they have continually monitored the state of floors, escalators, shelves, racks, toilets and lifts for health and safety. If they are unable to produce paper work for this, they may be liable for any accident that has occurred on the shop's property.
Shop owners must also monitor and maintain their car parks. Whilst they are not liable for a traffic accident in a car park, they do have a duty to maintain the car park to ensure the safety of customers.
If you have been involved in a shop accident within the last 3 years, that you think was the result of another's carelessness, you could be entitled to compensation for damages.
What Should I Do If I have Been Involved In A Shop Accident?
If you have been involved in a shop accident, remember your health is the priority. Make sure to get first aid, if possible, within the shop. All shops should have a first aid kit and a first aider on duty that should be able to help you in the first instance.
If you think your injury could be particularly serious, ensure an ambulance is called and get a health check from a medical professional.
A successful personal injury claim also benefits from the following steps being taken:
- Ensure that your accident is recorded in the shop's incident log book. Retailers are required by health and safety regulations to make a record of all incidents involving workers and customers.
- Take photos of the cause of your accident
- Get the details of any witnesses that may have seen what happened, this includes the details of any members of staff who tended to the situation or were around when it happened.
"Accidents in shops are quite common, but people often have feelings of shock and embarrassment and tend not to want to 'make a scene'. But these sorts of accidents can be very serious and reporting them could save the life of another in the future."
"Busy periods like Black Friday and Christmas are accident hot spots. Be really careful during these times when out shopping and report anything you think is a risk to health and safety to staff so that it can be acted upon."
"Shops have responsibility to look after the well-being of their customers in their shop and on their car parks. That includes making it safe in adverse weather conditions."
If you have been involved in a shop accident, call one of our personal injury team for a free phone consultation to see if you have grounds for a claim.