A woman in Queensland is suing Woolworths for $660,000 after slipping on a banana in a store in 2017. The woman was carrying her 8 week old baby, who was not hurt in the slip. She suffered ankle, spinal and psychiatric injuries.
This bears similarities to a number of cases we have worked on previously. We frequently talk to people who have slipped on fruit or spills in supermarkets and can offer the following advice if you have the misfortune of going bottoms up in your local supermarket.
- First of all, ensure you are okay. It can be very shocking and embarrassing to find yourself on the floor looking at fellow shoppers’ shoes. Make sure you don’t need emergency medical attention.
- That being said, do not hurry out of the store. We often hear of very kind fellow-shoppers who offer assistance, and helpful staff who will get a chair or stool and some water while you get over the shock.
- When you have recovered your faculties, ask those helpful passers-by for their contact details and ask them if they saw what caused you to fall.
- Ask staff to complete an incident notification form in your presence. Most supermarkets have public liability insurance with policies that require notification of any injuries that occur in the store.
- Try and ascertain what caused the fall – if you have a mobile phone on you, take a photograph of the produce or liquid smear on the floor, your clothes, shoes wherever. Even smell it, if need be – that water might actually be lemonade! Unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to help when people can’t tell us what they slipped on. Being very certain and having photographs, in the worst case, will serve as evidence that there was something on the floor that likely should not have been.
- We always ask what shoes people were wearing. Take a photo of the shoes worn at the time (to show how much grip they had), then put them in a bag and don’t keep wearing them!
- The next step is to get treatment: hopefully emergency medical attention isn’t necessary but if you have any doubts, get thee to the emergency department, or at least your GP!
- Follow any and all medical advice and go from there.
In an ideal world, supermarkets and shopping centres are insured for this very thing, so they might will help out with treatment expenses. We recommend shoppers ask the supermarket to help – the worst they can do is say no!
Where your losses really start to add up, for example, if you need surgery, a lot of time off work or a lot of time off work, it is worth your while to call Blumers to discuss whether we can be of assistance.