I fell due to slipping on spilt milk on the floor in a supermarket and hurt my back. What do I need to do in order to claim compensation for having slipped on milk in a supermarket?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I fell due to slipping on spilt milk on the floor in a supermarket and hurt my back. What do I need to do in order to claim compensation for having slipped on milk in a supermarket?

Answer:

You will be able to claim compensation for slipping on spilt milk on the floor in the supermarket if it can be shown that you suffered a quantifiable injury due to the negligence of the supermarket management or its staff. If you have not done so already, you should have your back injury examined by a doctor to determine the nature of the injury you sustained and how long it may take you to recover.

Thereafter – again if you have not done so already – you should make a report of your slipped on spilt milk supermarket accident in the supermarket´s “Accident Report Book”. You should keep a copy of your report to provide to your solicitor in support of your claim for compensation for slipping on spilt milk on the floor in a supermarket.

It is always advisable to use a solicitor when making a claim for compensation for having slipped on spilt milk in a supermarket, for although a supermarket has a duty of care to provide its customers with a safe environment to shop, that duty of care is not “absolute”. If the milk on which you slipped had just become a hazard on the floor of the supermarket due to it leaking out of another shopper´s basket, or spilt by a child´s drink, the supermarket would justifiably claim that it was unreasonable that it be held liable for your accident and back injury.

Therefore, it has to be proven that the supermarket was in breach of its duty of care and a solicitor will try to establish this by talking with staff and customers at the store, reviewing the “Accident Report Book” to see if any similar accidents have been recorded in the past and requesting CCTV footage from the types of security cameras that you often see in SuperValue, Superquinn , Tesco and Dunnes Stores around the time that your accident occurred to determine whether the milk on which you slipped had been a hazard for a considerable period of time.

Once negligence is proven, your solicitor will calculate how much compensation for slipping on spilt milk on the floor of a supermarket you may be entitled to receive. He or she will them send a letter of claim to the supermarket´s insurers advising them that you have a claim for slipping on spilt milk on the floor of the supermarket and inviting the insurers to make an offer of settlement.

This is far more efficient method of claiming compensation for slipping on spilt milk on the floor of a supermarket than having your claim processed by the Injuries Board, but it still may be necessary to submit an application to the Injuries Board Ireland if the supermarket denies its liability for your back injury or their insurers fail to offer an appropriate amount of compensation for slipping on spilt milk on the floor of a supermarket in order to get the authorisation to pursue your claim on court.

In these particular circumstances, it is advisable to speak with a solicitor at the earliest practical moment once you have received professional medical attention for your injured back.