I slipped on a dirty floor in my local supermarket and damaged my coccyx when I fell. Is it possible to claim compensation for my injuries because the supermarket was not kept clean?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I slipped on a dirty floor in my local supermarket and damaged my coccyx when I fell. Is it possible to claim compensation for my injuries because the supermarket was not kept clean?

Answer:

You will be able to claim compensation because you slipped on a dirty floor in the supermarket if it can be shown that your lower back injury was attributable to the negligence of the supermarket management or its staff. This can sometimes be difficult when it may be hard to prove that the floor was dirty after the event and determine how long the floor had been in its condition.

Supermarkets do not have an absolute duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to shop and, if you slipped on a dirty floor in the supermarket which had been clean when it was last checked, it would not be reasonable to claim that the supermarket was negligent and responsible for your back injury.

If, however, it can be established that the litter on which you slipped had been present for an unreasonable period of time, or slips on dirty floors were a common cause of injury in the supermarket, you would be eligible to claim compensation for slipping on a dirty floor in the supermarket – no matter what defence the negligent supermarket intended to use in its defence.

The best way of determining whether negligence was the reason behind your slipped on dirty floor in supermarket injury is to speak with a solicitor. A solicitor will investigate whether claims of this nature have been made in this supermarket before and use footage taken by CCTV security systems which are present in supermarkets such as Dunnes Stores, SuperValue, Superquinn and Tesco to see if there is any indication of the length of time that the floor was dirty and how long the supermarket staff had to acknowledge the dirty floor as a hazard and clean it.

Supermarkets who acknowledge their responsibility for an injury on their premises are often quick to offer compensation. However, before accepting any offer from the supermarket or their insurers in respect of your lower back injury, you should find out from your solicitor how much compensation for having slipped on a dirty floor in the supermarket you are entitled to. An injury such as a damaged coccyx will be quite debilitating and prevent you from performing many day-to-day tasks and enjoying a full schedule of leisure and social pursuits.

Therefore, the actual amount of compensation for slipping on a dirty floor in the supermarket could be considerably more than you would receive for your coccyx injury alone and it is in your best possible interest to speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity – not just to establish how much compensation for having slipped on a dirty floor you are entitled to, but also in case the supermarket erases its security tapes and evidence of their negligence is gone forever.