A friend told me that I can claim compensation for slipping on a spilled drink in a fast food restaurant to recover loss of earnings. Is this correct? I have not been able to go to work for six weeks due to a broken leg and I do not receive sick pay.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Your friend is correct, as it is possible to claim compensation for slipping on a spilled drink in a fast food restaurant for loss of earnings. Any cost or financial outlay necessitated by the accident or the injuries which were sustained can be recovered in a claim for slipping on a spilled drink in a fast food restaurant as special damages – provided it can proven that the fast food restaurant was responsible for your broken leg due to its lack of care.

When you submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board, there is a section on claim form A where you can detail any costs you have incurred (page 6 on the online application), which includes loss of earnings. If you have regularly been earning overtime, this too can be recovered; however you must be able to substantiate any expense with receipts or invoices.

The purpose of special damages is to make sure that were it not for your accident and injury, you would be in no worse position financially. If you have been receiving any form of government sick pay however, this would be deducted from any award of restaurant slip injury compensation you receive.

Compensation for slipping on spilled drink in a fast food restaurant will also be awarded as general damages, which are concerned with compensating you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of being injured although you do not stipulate these damages on your claim form. These are calculated based on the medical assessment form which needs to be submitted along with your application for assessment.

Although you were injured when you slipped on a spilled drink in a fast food restaurant, it does not necessarily mean that the restaurant owner is liable for your injuries. You can only make a claim for slipping on a spilled drink in a fast food restaurant if the restaurant owner was negligent, and this was the reason why you slipped. If the drink had only just been spilled by a customer, it is unlikely that the restaurant owner will be liable for your injuries. A claim for slipping on spilled drink in a fast food restaurant is only likely to be possible if the restaurant staff had not cleaned up the spillage in an acceptable time frame.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the claims process, including how to submit an application for assessment form to the Injuries Board, you should seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor. You should also speak to a personal injury solicitor to confirm that you are eligible to make a claim for slipping on a spilled drink in a fast food restaurant.