I tripped and fell in an office reception area while delivering a parcel. The doormat was curled at the edge and I tripped and dislocated my shoulder. Can I make a claim for trip injury compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

It is possible to claim compensation if you tripped and fell in an office reception area while making a delivery, provided that the trip and fall was the result of third party negligence and there was a failure in a duty of care. Under the Occupier Liability Act (1957, revised 1995) the occupier of a building has a ‘common duty of care’ to ensure that a visitor can enter the premises without risk of sustaining an injury or damage.

This common duty of care includes ensuring that entrances, doorways and office reception areas are safe and free from trip and slip risks. Under this legislation it is the responsibility of the occupier to address any health and safety risks to eliminate any hazards and to reduce the risk of injury to the minimum practical level.

Doormats can be a serious office trip injury risk. Based on the information you have provided, it might not be reasonable to expect someone carrying a parcel to see a faulty door mat when entering an office. It is therefore unlikely that under the circumstances the occupier would be able to claim that you were primarily responsible for the trip and fall, so you should be eligible to make a claim for office trip injury compensation for having tripped and fell in an office reception area.

However, in order to make a successful claim for having tripped and fallen in an office reception area you must be able to prove that the occupier has been negligent. One problem with proving negligence is that the office manager may have arranged for the doormat to be replaced following the accident. It is unlikely that if a trip and fall in an office reception area has occurred and a serious injury sustained, that the hazard would be allowed to remain. If the hazard no longer exists it can make obtaining evidence of negligence more complicated.

We therefore recommend using a personal injury solicitor to pursue your claim for office trip injury compensation. Evidence of negligence is likely to have to come from any witnesses to your accident when you tripped and fell in an office reception area or from any CCTV footage of the area, and obtaining evidence in support of a claim for having tripped and fallen in an office reception area is best performed by a personal injury solicitor.