Can someone claim compensation from a department store if they were injured walking into an automatic door? My sister received quite a bad head injury when this happened to her.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

If it can be proven that the door was faulty and that there was not an adequate sign displayed to warn people of the hazard and direct them to an alternative entrance/exit, it is possible to make an injured walking into automatic door claim. The department store will be deemed negligible and in breach of their legal duty of care to provide a safe shopping environment for its customers if no visible sign was displayed and they would, therefore, be deemed responsible for your sister’s accident.

However, many injured walking into automatic door compensation claims are contested by the property owner with a common defence accusing the victim of personal negligence. Despite the fact that the department store does have a duty to ensure that automatic doors are functional and safe and that any faulty doors are cordoned off, it can be argued that a “reasonable” person would have not attempted to walk through the door if they had been paying closer attention.

As all businesses are legally obliged to maintain an “Accident Report Book” on site, which should hold records of all injuries sustained on the property, your sister should have her injury noted as she was injured walking into an automatic door. By retaining her own copy, it can be used as proof by your sister’s solicitor that her accident did indeed happen.

If your sister has not yet seen a medical practitioner, she should do so immediately. Her medical record can also be used as proof, but it should be noted that any delay in seeking medical treatment can decrease the opportunity for a full compensation settlement as she could be accused of contributory negligence.

Your sister would be well advised to engage with an experienced solicitor, especially since many injured walking into automatic door compensation claims are contested. Most solicitors offer an initial consultation without charge where your sister can have any queries answered and where her solicitor can assess the viability of her claim.