Slip and fall
Many of you will remember the torrential rainfall and ‘cyclonic’ winds which lashed Newcastle and the Hunter in April 2015. There were power outages, spot flooding, trees down and much damage to property throughout the region.
During this period some supermarkets remained open to service the community. Obvious as it must have been, some supermarkets did not take reasonable precautions against the entry of water into their stores brought in on the feet of their patrons, creating very dangerous and slippery surfaces exposing their customers to the risk of slip and fall.
All occupiers of premises have a duty of care to take precautions against the risk of harm where the risk was foreseeable and not insignificant, and a reasonable person would have taken those precautions.
The Law Office of Conrad Curry acted for one patron of a prominent supermarket at Rutherford who suffered very severe spinal injuries and mental anguish as she entered the store and slipped and fell.
Our client was a highly credentialed nurse for the Local Health District and was in good health. The injuries left her with a significant loss of income-earning capacity in her profession and caused her an incredible level of pain and mental anguish, changing the quality of her life forever and giving rise to a need for domestic and personal assistance.
Our client had entered the store with adequate foot-wear in the circumstances and attempted as much as she could to dry her shoes on the one water-soaked mat placed at the entry way to the store. She moved beyond the entry way towards the self-serve area and struck a large patch of water not easily seen on the surface of the light-coloured floor, causing her to fall heavily onto her hip and back. Staff were quick to come to her aid and admitted that they were aware that water had entered the store.
Our client’s case was that the supermarket had a duty to prevent the entry of water into the store creating the risk of injury by providing adequate mats and other absorption materials as customers entered the store to remove water from their feet; to closely monitor the entry of water into the store; to alert customers of the risk and ensure that there was an adequate system in place, given the particular risk, to ensure that the floor was dry and safe for customers to walk through the store.
The supermarket argued among other things that it was not negligent, that if there was any failure on its part, then the accident and injuries were not caused by their acts or omissions, that the risk was obvious, that our client was responsible for her own injuries, and that our client failed to take care of her own safety.
At the first settlement conference the insurer offered $30,000. The offer was rejected, and the matter set down for hearing, which ultimately resulted in a settlement of several hundreds of thousand dollars.
If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence and as a result are unable to work or require assistance with personal care or medical expenses, we can help.