Since I slipped on lettuce on the floor in Tesco and fractured my wrist, can I claim compensation because my accident happened in the store?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You would be eligible to claim compensation for the injury you sustained after you slipped on lettuce on the floor in Tesco, if it can be proven that the supermarket were responsible for your accident by failing in the legal “duty of care” that should be provided by them to all customers. However, if the lettuce you slipped on had only just appeared – having fallen from another customer’s basket, for example – where staff would not have had a “reasonable” amount of time to remove it, the supermarket could not be held accountable as their duty of care is not “absolute”.

You would be advised to seek the assistance of an experienced solicitor who can recommend the best way to prove the supermarket’s responsibility for the injury you suffered when you slipped on lettuce on the floor In Tesco. Usual procedures would be to contact any staff members, who assisted you after the accident, who could be called upon to support your claim. A solicitor could also assess the supermarket’s CCTV system to determine how long the lettuce had been on the floor and to look at the length of time staff took to remove it. If you haven’t taken this step already, you should have your injury recorded in Tesco’s “Accident Report Book”, where any other similar accidents found to have been recorded could be used to support your claim.

Supermarkets such as Tesco are usually quick to offer compensation for an injury sustained when a customer slipped on lettuce on a floor in Tesco after they admit liability. Their insurance company may approach you with an offer that would potentially not sufficiently reflect the amount of compensation you are eligible for. Injury compensation should take numerous factors into account that Tesco’s insurers may neglect to consider. “Loss of amenity” – which refers to the impact your injury has had on your quality of life – may not be included in Tesco’s offer, since this element of compensation is difficult to calculate without closely evaluating the victim’s individual claim.

If you receive such an offer you should refer it to your solicitor immediately. Where it may seem tempting to accept in the days following your accident, it should be noted that compensation for all personal injury claims should be calculated by measuring the individual merits of each claim. Even if you do not receive an offer from Tesco but still believe you may have a viable case, you would be well advised to speak with a solicitor who can guide you in the correct direction to take.