Slip and Fall Injuries
As one would expect, a slip, trip or fall injury may have serious implications for anyone, and depending on the severity of the fall, the age of the injured person or your medical disposition, the effects may be very serious indeed. It goes without saying that accidents happen in life and for the most part, nobody is to blame, but if you have fallen due to the negligence of another, or by virtue of a breach of their duty of care (which is a duty to avoid acts or omission that one could reasonably foresee would cause an injury to another person) then you may have a valid claim for compensation.
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Property owners have responsibility
Simply put, anyone who owns property frequented by members of the public has a duty to ensure that the walking surface is safe. Shops, restaurants, offices, Council offices or spaces, even your employer has a duty to follow health and safety guidelines in order to prevent accidents, including tripping over wires or slipping on wet surfaces.
In Ireland, supermarkets have been responsible for a large number of these types of accidents over the year; often these injuries are caused when people slip on wet floors which have not been properly cleaned or mopped up by supermarket staff or spillages of product have not been properly tended to.
If you slip, trip or fall in a shop, restaurant, supermarket or any other public space used for sales or public use of any kind we would recommend you do the following
- You should report the accident immediately to the manager in charge at the time and take their details
- If by chance you are asked to complete an accident report form you should do – but you should retain a copy of the accident report form for your own records
- Ask the manager if there are CCTV cameras on the premises and request that all relevant footage be kept and a record made of your request
- One of the most important things you can do after an accident like this is to take a photograph of the scene. Today, most people have smartphones with in-built high quality cameras – utilise this technology to help substantiate your claim. A simple photograph of the surface/floor may be instrumental to a successful claim.
- If anyone witnessed your fall, approach them and take their details – they are a witness to your accident
- Be vigilant in inspecting the surface after your fall and take note of the surroundings. Again, the camera in your phone can be of great assistance in this regard.
Typical Defences put forward by negligent property owners
Normally, one of two defences will be put forward by proprietors; They were not to blame / they were not negligent (i.e. the hazard was caused by another person moments earlier and even the most diligent proprietor would not have had time to discover the risk and take reasonable steps to mitigate the danger) and lastly, that it was the fault of the person that fell.
You should at this stage note that a property owner is generally not responsible for your slip and fall injury if
- You were trespassing at the time of the accident
- Contributory negligence; i.e. you were acting carelessly at the time the accident took place, and thus you contributed to the accident
- It’s clear that an ordinary person would have noticed the hazardous condition and avoided it if they had been watching where there were going
- The hazardous condition did not exist long enough for the property owner to reasonably discover it and mitigate and/or remove it
- The property owner did take reasonable steps to prevent the accident (i.e. placing a ‘wet floor’ sign or barrier or warning sign near the hazardous condition.
How We Can Help ?
At Coleman Legal we specialise in plaintiff litigation and have secured positive outcomes for countless clients over the years. Our solicitors can help you determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation.
If you have any questions in relation to a slip, trip or fall, please do not hesitate to contact us.
(Workplace Injury Team)
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
Free Phone: (1800) 844 104