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Supermarket -oap slipped on food - injury claim?

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Elderly relative slipped on food produce on supermarket floor. Very bad fall.

Immediately other customers came to help and they called over a store assistant to assist.

This assistant then put up one of the yellow "danger slippery surface" signs.


Relative had the presence of mind to use telephone to photograph what slipped on and the injury.

After a while relative managed to get up/ drive home and then go to the doctor. Its a rural quite old-fashioned GP and they told relative to come back if injury gets worse :-( (ie they were very busy and kind of couldn't deal with this type of complaint)


1 month later the bruising has subsided but the injury is still bad; causing problems. A possible fracture? Needs an x-ray to verify.


In the meantime relative had been expecting a call from the local branch to check injury ok - but never received any call. So relative instead wrote to the head office of supermarket and complained. The head office replied quite swiftly advising relative to return to the local branch for compensation: which turned out to be a bunch of flowers and a cheque for a nominal (tiny) value.


Given relative is elderly and vulnerable I am of the opinion that the flowers/tiny cheque value is a 'fob off'. Lots of elderly would be very happy with such "gifts". But relative is still in pain and may even have a fracture (can update on this after hospital) so I am wondering if we should write and thank them for the flowers and the cheque - but we are considering making an injury claim against them.

Is this how it works? See how they reply to such a letter from relative? Or just go straight to a lawyer to handle this issue?

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What kind of expert is it? Orthopaedic knee specialist I presume.    Usually, there will be an interview and an examination. The interview will he where the expert gets the background of what h

It was indeed a very brief meeting.  As you mention - background details followed by a brief look and a prod He was independent - for both sides  

Which supermarket please?

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I suggest that you get hold of a written report from the doctor and any follow-up medical evidence. Keep on seeing the doctors. Write to the supermarket and lay out exactly what happened, when it happened and the fact that they have not responded to you and so that you now wish formally to make a claim.


The only problem but this is working out the value. I suggest that you invite the insurer to carry out their own independent medical examination.


At the end it will depend on what you are prepared to do about it. They will try to put it into their insurer and it will take ages and there will be negotiation et cetera. If you wanted to happen more quickly then you would have to be prepared to bring a legal action in the County Court. Not difficult but your elderly relative would have to do be the person named and would have to go to court and maybe they don't feel up to it.


Whatever happens, you definitely to get your claim in formally to the supermarket and get a proper response from them.


Frankly if they don't respond within seven days then given the delay that they have already caused, I would then threaten legal action.

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Thank you

I think compensation request depends firstly on the outcome of the x-ray.

I will help relative with this.

I guess in meantime I could ask the store to forward cctv and accident log to relative?

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collin11 - yes you read that right!


This is fairly typical of rural GP's

- in this case the GP asked elderly relative if they thought they might have broken something!!

I mean seriously.


Most town GPs would send the patients straight off to hospital.


Plus elderly people don't like to make a fuss...


I suspect, having now seen the injury, that there is a hairline fracture.


So ok enough to walk on with pain but not enough pain to be an obvious break...

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Elderly can be quite stubborn... But yes, that is the aim...


it is quite hard when someone says "I'm fine; I'm fine" and then you take a look and everything is very clearly not fine. Trying to gently hold their hand to do the correct things...

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The important question here in terms of seeking compensation for injury :

has the supermarket breached its duty of care?.


So, if the “slippery produce” was dropped by a member of staff who then left it,

or someone had reported a hazard and the store staff had left it, knowing there was a hazard,

or even “supermarket put in the wrong flooring, leading to a known slip hazard that they don’t correct”

: breach of duty of care.


If, however,

the supermarket had records showing the aisles were regularly and frequently inspected for hazards,

and they claimed this showed that the produce must have been dropped almost immediately before the incident,

and they had done all that could be expected of a careful and responsible retailer

: no breach of duty of care, and no claim for negligence under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.

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As above

I think your elderly relative's health should be first and foremost

- if they think they've broken a bone they should really go to hospital.


As for making a claim for personal injury,

your claim should follow the pre-action protocol for low value pi claims (EL/PL)

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/protocol/pre-action-protocol-for-low-value-personal-injury-employers-liability-and-public-liability-claims .


If you instruct solicitors they will complete an electronic Claim Notification Form (CNF) and submit directly to the supermarket's insurers.


If you go it alone you'll still have to start the claim by sending a hard copy CNF to the Defendant's head office, and follow the process in the pre-action protocol.


If you just issue proceedings (bear in mind liability could well be disputed) without following the protocol, proceed through the litigation process and end up with a win in Court, you run the risk that the Court could impose a sanction for failing to follow the protocol (and that could take the form of a reduction in damages). Not a certainty but a risk.


Even if you don't follow that, there is still the pre-action protocol for personal injury.



If you submit a letter of claim to them,

they can issue a response and the protocol gives them 3 months to investigate liability and respond.


Notwithstanding the procedural aspects of making the claim,

the liability issues outlined by Bazza above still need addressing.


Sending a letter of claim should trigger them to investigate liability.

Investigating this as a litigant in person will require an investment of time and energy.

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You would need to contact the store / Customer Services and ask for the CCTV to be retained and disclosed, so you would be able to see who created the hazard and how long it was there, however, what bazzaS is correct

Abbey - owed £3260 - Paid up.


Barclays owed £2500 - Paid up.


Halifax, Mint & Egg - next on the hit list


Dont click on the scales - I'm quite proud of my little red dot! - As the little red dot has gone - click away!!!!

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If it was over a month ago it is extremely unlikely the cctv exists unless you have advised them to keep a copy. Cctv is almost always deleted or over written every 30 days.



So you need to be fast.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..



If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks


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According to relative it was vegetables that they slipped on.

Normally this vegetable would be packaged in a sealed plastic bag, pre-cut by the supermarket.


At some point a bag had been picked up, the bag broke and a couple of the contents spilled out.


No-one had picked up the spilled contents - neither customer nor sales staff And relative stepped on the veg and slipped.


I would suggest breach of duty of care.

The bag should not have split and someone should have picked up the spillage.


We would need to check time of accident against their cleaning logs

- but would they have specific records which show which aisle was cleaned at what time?

Edited by dx100uk
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  • 5 weeks later...


Persuaded relative to return to doctors / got a specialist referral / MRI booked / results this week. So far via NHS. Unsure of any future rehabilitation costs within or outside the NHS.


In meantime have written to supermarket and advised them, briefly, of the circumstances since the 'fall' - problems walking/ all doctor visits and scans etc. Just to keep them informed.


Have not yet suggested any form of litigation or personal injury claim - but I guess the mere fact have written to supermarket advising them of the circumstances does prepare them for a follow up pi claim??


Will update with the MRI results when get them

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  • 1 month later...

update - yes, the MRI confirms there is a split menisci in the knee. No arthritis. Consensus that cause is by fall, not by age degeneration.

Still great pain even lying down. There was no pain or problems walking before the fall.

Just trying to decide what to do next...

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Did you get the CCTV? Did you file an accident report with the store? Youll be hard pressed to win any claim if you dont get the proof

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..



If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks


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Now all you can do is wait . You can always get a PIL onto it, but you need to make sure all your ducks are in a row.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..



If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks


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  • 2 weeks later...

little update:

Supermarket have acknowledged the potential injury claim; have passed it on to their insurance company.

The insurance company has then written saying they have a legal obligation to investigate and reply within 40 days.

Is there anything we need to do in the meantime?

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Keep a detailed log – a daily log as to the progress of the injury and the difficulties/problems involved in care and treatment.

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  • 1 month later...


there's been a few pingpong letters.


The supermarket has passed the relative's details on to a claim handler.


And relative has since received a letter from DWP - the compensation recovery unit.

Relative has actually never written they are making a claim - but obviously the intent has been shown.

Apparently if supermarket thinks a claim is being made they have to - by law - ask the Govt DWP if the injured party has received any benefits from the Govt. If the case gets settled and payment made to relative, the insurance company then has to repay DWP any benefits that have been paid as a direct result of the injury.


Not quite sure of our next steps...

Obv Supermarket is treating this seriously; as a claim. So will put our heads together and try figure what is best to do.

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The report to the DWP is the correct procedure, any appropriate recoverable benefits paid to your relative will be deducted from their damages and paid to the DWP directly. The notification to the DWP will also bring to light any NHS charges which the Defendant will have to pay if liable (eg charges for X-rays, scans etc)


Has your relative considered instructing a solicitor yet? There are steps which need to be followed in bringing this claim as set out in the Civil Procedure Rules.

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No benefits have been requested/ paid (yet)....


No solicitor instructed. Was potentially going to handle for relative???

Intend to research the procedures...

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