When I slipped on a wet patch by the frozen food section in a supermarket I knocked my mouth against the edge of a fridge and wanted to know if I could claim compensation for a chipped tooth?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You may be eligible to claim compensation for a chipped tooth if it can be proven that your injury was caused due to the negligence of the supermarket; that should legally provide their customers with a safe and clean shopping environment. If the supermarket failed in their “duty of care”, they may be named as the responsible party in your claim. However, the supermarket’s duty of care is not “absolute” meaning that if your accident could not have been prevented by staff in a “reasonable” amount of time, they may not be held to blame.

You should have gathered evidence to support your compensation for chipped tooth claim by assembling witness statements and by having your injury recorded in the supermarket’s Accident Report Book. Further evidence could be obtained by accessing the supermarket’s CCTV where the length of time the wet patch had been there could be established along with the efforts made by staff to eliminate the risk of an accident.

One of the most important elements of a compensation for chipped tooth claim would have been how you took care of your health. You should have had your injury treated by a medical professional immediately after the accident, not only for health reasons but to sufficiently support your claim. If there is a substantial gap between the date the accident occurred and the date your accident was eventually recorded in your medical history, there is the possibility that your claims could be contested on the grounds that you contributed to the extent of your injury by delaying medical attention.

You would be well advised to consult with a solicitor at the first practical moment following medical treatment. In the initial consultation that most solicitors offer without charge, he or she assess your claim and determine its viability. If your solicitor recommends that you proceed with your claim, he or she could assist with the gathering of evidence – if you have not already done so – and with the application form to the Injuries Board Ireland.

Additionally, if the supermarket admits liability, their insurers may approach you with an early offer of compensation. Your solicitor would be able to establish whether or not it adequately reflects your injury and the affect it has had on your quality of life and if it would be worth accepting or if you would be better served pursuing legal action.