I slipped on a wet floor in my local supermarket and broke my hip when I fell. Is it possible to claim compensation for my injuries even though it was raining outside?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I slipped on a wet floor in my local supermarket and broke my hip when I fell. Is it possible to claim compensation for my injuries even though it was raining outside?

Answer:

You will be able to claim compensation because you slipped on a wet floor in the supermarket if it can be shown that your hip injury was attributable to the negligence of the supermarket management or its staff. Even though it had been raining outside, the supermarket has a duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to shop and, as wet floors in a supermarket are acknowledge as a common slip hazard, the supermarket management should have made sure that any risk of slipping on a wet floor in the supermarket was eliminated.

However, supermarkets do not have an “absolute” duty of care – which means that if liquid had been spilt from a shopper´s basket just seconds before you slipped on the wet floor in the supermarket, the store could not be held responsible for your broken hip as it would be considered unreasonable to expect the supermarket staff to mop up the hazard immediately. Therefore being able to claim compensation for slipping on a wet floor in the supermarket is going to depend on whether it can be proven that the liquid you slipped on had been present for an unreasonable period of time.

The best way of determining whether negligence was the reason behind your slipped on wet floor in supermarket accident is to speak with a solicitor. A solicitor will investigate whether claims of this nature have been made in this supermarket before, speak with members of supermarket staff 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 wet and how long the supermarket staff had in which to and dry it or isolate the wet area.

It may be the case that once the negligent supermarket is shown proof of its liability for your injury you may be directly made an offer of compensation for slipping on the wet floor in the supermarket. Supermarkets – or more accurately, their insurers – are keen to avoid legal costs in a compensation claim for slipping on a wet floor in supermarket however, if you have already engaged the services of a solicitor, he or she should have already assessed how much compensation for having slipped on a wet floor in the supermarket you should be entitled to. With this knowledge you will know whether how much compensation you are being offered represents a fair and adequate settlement.

Until liability is assured, there is little point in approaching the Injuries Board Ireland for an assessment of your claim for slipping on a wet floor in a supermarket, and it is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity – not only to establish how much compensation for slipping on a wet floor in a supermarket you may be entitled to, but also in order that your solicitor can collect evidence of negligence before security tapes are erased or the memories of supermarket staff fade.