Can I claim compensation for an accident in a post office for a trip and fall due to a poorly located display? I dislocated my shoulder and tore ligaments in my arm when I fell over the base of a display which was located in the walkway to the counter.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You should be entitled to make a claim for compensation for accident in a post office provided you can establish and prove that the trip and fall in a post office which caused you to sustain injuries resulted from the negligence of a third party who owed you a duty of care.

A duty of care in this case would be owed to you by the post office operator as the occupier of a public building. Government legislation places a legal responsibility on the occupier to ensure that visitors can enter the building and use the services therein safely without being placed at an excessive risk of injury. Hazards should be reduced to the minimum possible level, and the premises should be inspected regularly to make sure health and safety risks are identified and corrected.

There is no absolute duty of care covering visitors to a post office, which means that the post office operator is not automatically liable for your injuries because of your trip and fall. You must be able to establish that the display was poorly located and that the post office operator was negligent for erecting it and placing it in an area of the premises where it posed an unacceptable trip risk if a claim for compensation for an accident in a post office to be made.

If displays are erected inside the building they must never pose a risk to health and safety. The purpose of a display is to attract the attention of visitors, and while eyes are drawn to the items on display it may be unreasonable to expect visitor to see the base. When new displays are installed in any shop or public building, they must be subjected to a trip injury risk assessment to make sure that the health and safety of the visitor is not placed at risk. If this was not completed, it is considered to be negligence and will entitle you to make a claim for an accident in a post office to recover post office accident compensation against the public liability insurance policy of the post office operator.

A claim for an accident in a post office may not be possible however if you were primarily responsible for the trip and fall. If any ‘reasonably attentive’ person would have been able to see the base of the display, and take action to avoid a trip and a fall, a claim for compensation for accident in a post office may not be possible.

We recommend contacting a personal injury solicitor to discuss making a claim for an accident in a post office. You will be advised whether you are entitled to claim post office accident compensation under the circumstances, and the experience of a personal injury solicitor should improve the probability of you receiving your full entitlement to post office accident compensation if the Post Office is found liable for your injury.