Injured while shopping in a grocery store or retail store can be embarrassing. However, slip and fall injuries can lead to serious life long disabilities. These cases often require handcrafted injury settlements, given the unique facts. Notwithstanding, there are three elements required to attain successful settlement of an injury claim against a store.
Proving Duty to the Customer
Grocery stores and supermarkets have a mixed duty due to variable product demands. Food, such as canned, dry and frozen foods create much less risk of spillage than fresh fruits and vegetables. This means there needs to be more frequent sweeping and cleaning in the fresh fruit and vegetable aisle.
The statutory duty of care owed to customers:
3 (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take that care that in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that a person, and the person’s property, on the premises, and property on the premises of a person, whether or not that person personally enters on the premises, will be reasonably safe in using the premises.
Clothing stores may not have products prone to spilling but rainy weather can cause slippery floors. This can therefore lead to injuries. As a result, there needs to be a system in place the account for these hazards. The system needs to be reasonable and supervised.
Bottom line, the care the store must take differs according to the nature and use of the premises ( seeKayser v. Park Royal Shopping Centre Ltd. (1995), 16 B.C.L.R. (3d) 330 (C.A.)).
Proving Breach of the Duty
The duty refers to the condition of the store, activities in the store, or conduct of other customers on the premises. The legislated duty of care is however no greater than the duty owed under the common law. In applying the duty an injured customer must prove that the store breached the duty of care. There is however no negligence created just by the fact a customer was injured.
The claimant must establish that some act or failure to act by the store owners resulted in the injury.
The duty of care does not require the store to remove every possibility of danger. The legal test is one of reasonableness not perfection.
Connecting the Injury to the Breach
The insurance adjusters for the store should not have to speculate about the cause of the fall and injury when asked to settle. The claimant must prove the connection between the slip and fall and the store’s breach in the duty of care.
Injury settlement with a store cannot be done alone. Get medical attention immediately following an injury in a grocery or retail store. Speak to a lawyer for a free phone consultation as early as possible.