Can I claim for tripped on loose carpet in shop compensation if I fractured my ankle when I fell but nobody saw the accident?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

The first thing to establish when pursuing a claim for tripped on loose carpet in shop compensation is that the shop owners failed in their duty of care to provide you with a safe shopping environment and were therefore to blame for your injury. However, it is worth noting that the shop owners do not have an “absolute” duty of care meaning that they cannot be held responsible if the carpet was loosened soon enough before you tripped so that the shop staff would not have had a “reasonable” period of time in which to repair the problem.

By engaging in the services of an experienced solicitor, even without witnesses, he or she will be able to assist you in seeking alternative ways in which to determine the shop owner’s liability. Most shops maintain CCTV cameras and the solicitor would be able to obtain footage that could show evidence of how long the carpet had been loose for and the steps shop staff took – or didn’t take – to eliminate the hazard. The sooner this footage is sought the better, as there is the possibility that as time passes, the images could be recorded over or erased. Another way of proving negligence is that you return to the shop and have your injury recorded in their “Accident Report Book” where other such incidents could also have been submitted.

Seeking medical attention immediately after the accident occurred should have been the highest factor on your list of priorities. Failure to do so could lead to the negligent party accusing you of exacerbating your injuries due to your own lack of care – or even denying that the injury happened on their premises, in the event of no witness support of CCTV images – and could reduce the amount of compensation you receive significantly. If you did not carry out this important procedure before seeing a solicitor, they would advise that you have your injury examined by a doctor as soon as possible.

In the event of the shop owners accepting liability, you may be approached by their insurance company with an offer of early compensation which may be tempting to accept, but may not adequately represent the pain and suffering your injury has caused or the negative impact it has had on your quality or life. By referring such an offer to a solicitor, they can determine if it is a sufficient amount or whether you would be better served by initiating legal action.