Can I claim shop accident injury compensation if my accident happened two months ago? I fractured my patella in an accident when I tripped over a pile of shoes in a well-known shoe shop chain.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

It is possible to claim shop accident injury compensation, even if your accident occurred two months ago, although there may be some potential difficulties if you have not already carried out the standard procedures that should be followed after an accident such as yours. Additionally, it must be proven that the shop in question failed in their legal “duty of care” to provide their customers with a safe and clean shopping environment. It should be noted that a delay in pursuing legal action by two months or more may cause the negligent party’s legal representatives to question why you did not initiate proceedings sooner. By engaging with the services of a solicitor, the opportunity of receiving a successful compensation settlement would be greatly increased.

It is important that you sought immediate professional medical attention following your accident. Even if first aid was administered on site, you should have been treated by a qualified medical practitioner at the first possible opportunity. The longer the gap between the date of the accident and the date that your injuries were recorded in your medical history, the larger the possibility that the negligent party’s insurers may contend your claim on the basis of contributory negligence.

If you have not already done so, you should have your injury recorded in the shop’s Accident Report Book in order to support your shop accident injury compensation claim. Along with being able to add weight to your claim, it may be found that other similar accidents had been recorded, therefore further proving the shop’s negligence.

As mentioned above, the shop has a duty of care towards their customers. However, that duty of care is not “absolute”, meaning that if the pile of shoes had only appeared moments before your fall and staff would not have been able to remove them in a “reasonable” amount of time, the shop would not be held responsible for your accident. By accessing CCTV footage by submitting the date and time of your accident and a brief description of yourself, the length of time the shoes were there could be established, as could the efforts made by staff to remove the hazard.

Despite the fact that your accident occurred two months ago and even if you have not carried out all of the recommended procedures, by seeking the assistance of a solicitor in your shop accident injury compensation claim, he or she would be able to gather the evidence on your behalf, as well as contact witnesses and access the images recorded on CCTV. In the case that the shop admits liability and you are approached with an unsolicited offer of compensation, your solicitor could determine whether or not their offer is worth accepting.