When shopping last Saturday I fell over in a shop, can I claim compensation? I damaged my shoulder quite badly and cannot drive myself to work.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

To answer your question “I fell over in a shop, can I claim compensation?” some elements should be considered, primarily, was the accident caused by another person’s negligence? In order to make a successful personal injury compensation claim, it must be proven that the injury was caused through no fault of your own and that the shop owner failed in their legal duty of care towards you.

There were a number of procedures you should have taken after your accident occurred. The first and most important would have been to seek immediate medical attention. The longer you wait to be examined by a medical professional the more difficult it is to reach a successful conclusion to a compensation claim. You should also have collected the details of any witnesses who could potentially support your claim and, if you had access to a camera or mobile phone with camera application, it would have been advantageous to take pictures of the scene.

Potential plaintiffs may ask “I fell over in a shop, can I claim compensation?”, as they do not know the correct route to take when attempting to pursue a claim. In addition to seeking medical treatment and collecting witness details, you should have had your injury recorded in the shop’s “Accident Report Book” which they are legally obliged to keep on site. It would have been beneficial to retain your own copy of your report. CCTV footage may also be required to support your claim. You should be able to retrieve this from the shop when you give the date and time of the accident and a short description of yourself.

You could also be approached by the shop’s insurance company who may offer you compensation for your injuries. In many cases, the amount offered by the negligent party’s insurers will not be an accurate reflection of your injury and the impact it has on your life.

An experienced solicitor will be able to satisfactorily answer “I fell in a shop, can I claim compensation?” Being approached by the negligent party’s insurers with an unsolicited offer of compensation effectively admits their liability and your solicitor can recommend if the amount offered should be accepted or if you would be better served by initiating legal action.

Even if you did not compete all of the procedures mentioned above, you would still be well advised to contact a solicitor at the first practical opportunity. Each personal injury compensation case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. A solicitor can assess the details of your potential claim and determine whether or not it is worth pursuing.