If I fell and fractured my kneecap due to rubbish left outside of a shop in a shopping centre, do I make a claim for shopping centre injury compensation against the shop that the rubbish was left outside of or the shopping centre management?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

If I fell and fractured my kneecap due to rubbish left outside of a shop in a shopping centre, do I make a claim for shopping centre injury compensation against the shop that the rubbish was left outside of or the shopping centre management?

Answer:

Your claim for shopping centre injury compensation should be made against the shopping centre management, for although you tripped or slipped on rubbish which “on the balance of probabilities” had been discarded by the shop, the shopping centre management has a duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to do your shopping. However, the shopping centre´s duty of care may not – in certain circumstances – be “absolute”.

The situation might occur whereby the shopping centre denies their liability for your shopping centre injury claim on the grounds that they were not provided with a reasonable amount of time to identify the hazard which caused your injury and arrange for it to be cleared up. If this were to happen, it may then be necessary to establish that the litter was deposited by the shopkeeper and a claim for shopping centre injury compensation made against the shop or the shop and the shopping centre jointly.

To avoid any unnecessary delay to the resolution of your shopping centre injury compensation claim, you should speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of your accident. The Injuries Board Ireland will decline to assess any claim for shopping centre injury compensation in which liability is in doubt and, as the shopping centre management has 90 days in which to confirm or deny that it will accept liability for your injuries, it might take three months for you to find out just if your claim can be assessed.

It will be far more beneficial to you if your solicitor can first establish whether the shopping centre will accept liability in a shopping centre injury claim and then submit your claim for shopping injury compensation to the Injuries Board Ireland for assessment. Your solicitor will also be able to calculate how much compensation for a shopping centre injury you will be entitled to and possibly negotiate an early settlement with the insurers of the shopping centre management.

While you are waiting for the issue of liability to be resolved, you should maintain a diary – recording any day to day activity which you are unable to do due to your knee injury and any leisure or social pursuit which you are unable to participate in. The deterioration in your quality of life could account for a considerable part of your shopping centre injury compensation settlement and – with this information – your solicitor will be able to ensure that you receive the maximum possible award of shopping centre injury compensation.