I slipped on a lettuce on the floor in the supermarket and sprained my ankle as I fell. Is it possible to claim compensation for my ankle injury because the supermarket was not kept tidy?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I slipped on a lettuce on the floor in the supermarket and sprained my ankle as I fell. Is it possible to claim compensation for my ankle injury because the supermarket was not kept clean?

Answer:

You will be able to claim compensation because you slipped on a lettuce on the floor in the supermarket if it can be shown that your ankle injury was attributable to the negligence of the supermarket management or its staff. Negligence can sometimes be difficult to prove in these circumstances because although supermarkets have a duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to shop, that duty of care is not “absolute”.

By “absolute” is it meant that, if the lettuce on which you slipped had just fallen out of another shopper´s basket, you could not “reasonably” expect supermarket staff to immediately acknowledge that a hazard exists and to remove it. Alternatively, if it can be established that the lettuce had been present for some time, or that the greengrocery department of the supermarket is regularly littered with vegetable debris, you would have a justifiable claim for slipping on a lettuce on the floor in the supermarket.

In addition to speaking with members of the supermarket staff and customers who use the store, 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 Superquinn, Dunnes Stores, SuperValue, and Tesco to see if there is any indication of the length of time that the lettuce remained on the floor and if “in the balance of probabilities” you are eligible for compensation for having slipped on a lettuce on the floor in the supermarket.

Supermarkets who acknowledge their responsibility for an ankle injury on their premises due to their lack of care are often quick to offer compensation. However, before accepting any offer from the supermarket or their insurers in respect of your ankle injury, you should find out from your solicitor how much compensation for having slipped on a lettuce on the floor in the supermarket you are entitled to. An injury such as a sprained ankle 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 lettuce on the floor in the supermarket could be considerably more than you would receive for your ankle injury alone if assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland and it is in your best possible interest to speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity – not only to establish how much compensation for having slipped on a lettuce you are entitled to, but also in case a delay results in the supermarket erasing its security tapes and evidence of their negligence is gone forever.