Can I claim compensation for falling in a shop if there were no witnesses to see my fall? I fractured my wrist when I fell over bin and am currently unable to drive my car to work.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Even if no one was present to witness your fall it is possible that you can still claim compensation for falling in a shop – provided that the shop can be proven to have breached their duty of care. Shops have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and clean shopping environment and it must be proven that the accident in which your wrist was fractured could have been avoided if the staff would have had a reasonable amount of time to remove the hazard.

Although witness statements would be a useful form of evidence in a compensation for falling in a shop claim, there are alternative ways to prove the shop’s negligence. If you have not already done so, you should have your injury recorded in the shop’s Accident Report Book. Not only can this prove that your accident took place on the shop’s premises, you may also find that similar accidents have occurred.

Provided that the shop has a CCTV system installed, it would be worthwhile to access the images recorded of your accident by submitting the date and time and a brief description of yourself, particularly since there were no eye-witnesses. This could establish how long the hazard had been there for and the efforts the staff had made to clear it. If you are apprehensive about accessing this footage yourself, a solicitor would be able to do this and collect the other necessary documentation on your behalf.

If the shop accepts liability you may be approached by their insurance company with an early offer of compensation for falling in a shop. Be aware, however, that while offers such as these are evaluated based on the severity and extent of the injury you sustained, they may not include other factors that you could be compensated for; including the impact your injury has had on your quality of life, in your case, your inability to drive to work.

Most solicitors offer an initial consultation without charge where they can answer any questions regarding your compensation for falling in a shop claim and assess whether or not it is viable. If you have received an unsolicited offer from the shop’s insurance company, a solicitor would be in a good position to determine if it a fair and reasonable reflection of your injuries and the impact they have had on your quality of life.