Injury compensation claims following an accident in a supermarket

Posted May 21, 2018.
Supermarkets are the UK’s busiest retail environments, and thousands of accidents occur each year, be they in one of the big chain superstores or a smaller, local shop. Supermarkets are like any other business – they have a legal duty of care through the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, and must take reasonable steps to help prevent customers from having an accident in one of their premises. They also have a similar duty of care to their staff, primarily covered by 1974’s Health and Safety at Work Act, which puts in place laws and regulations governing how supermarkets must provide proper health and safety training to help manage and minimise risks of injury within the workplace. 

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive  (HSE) indicate that many accidents that are reported in supermarkets and shops are as a result of an individual slipping on a wet floor, one of the reasons that yellow warning signs are such a common sight following a spillage. Wet floors are often caused by food & beverage spillages, leaking roofs or fridges / freezers or cleaning products; other common hazards are obstacles in aisles (such as boxes, resupply cages, trolleys and baskets, etc) and products falling from poorly stacked shelves (especially if they are glass and break). Additional injuries that supermarkets need to be aware of are injuries to staff resulting from poor stacking of goods in warehouses areas and shelves, inappropriate lifting of heavy items and defective / dangerous equipment such as pallet lifts and cutting equipment.Resultant injuries range from cuts and bruises through to broken bones and head injuries, and can often also result in financial loss, inability to work or lead a normal life and can there may be additional psychological effects too.

It is vital the supermarkets have the correct procedures in place, ensuring that any potential blockages or trip hazards, or liquid spillages, are dealt with immediately or at least that appropriate warning signs or cordons are put in place

What to do if you’ve had an accident?

For a claim to be successful, it must be provable that the supermarket is at fault, at least in part.  If you are unfortunate to have an accident in a supermarket or shop, you should:

1. Report what’s happened to a staff member, who should then also record the accident in their incident report book
2. Obtain additional evidence if possible, in particular details of any witnesses, photographs of the scene of the accident and your injuries, and see if there is any CCTV footage available
3. For more serious injuries, you will need to go to hospital, who will keep records of your visit that should help with your claim later. For less serious injuries, go to see your GP who, as well as providing the proper advice and guidance regarding your injuries, will also keep the appropriate record of your visit which will be an important part of making a successful claim.

Supermarkets will be insured against such injury claims, and there is a well-defined set of processes in place that means that your claim can be progressed as quickly as possible.
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