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The Great Grape Escape
Type “Supermarket Injury” into Google and watch the horde of law firm websites appear on your screen. These firms have pages and pages of content designed to encourage customers to act against supermarket owners. The websites will respond to many questions such as:
- What are my rights against the supermarket?
- Can I sue the supermarket?
- How do I sue the supermarket?
- How much can I sue the supermarket for?
- What evidence do I need to sue the supermarket?
Law firms are no longer chasing the ambulance leaving the store, they are now chasing the grape as it falls. Across the country the “great grape escape” has resulted in many claims, with millions of dollars spent in legal fees and even more in compensation pay outs. The evolution of the no win – no fee strategy by law firms is designed to encourage customers to sue your store.
A grape on the floor doesn’t automatically deem the supermarket responsible for the customer’s injury and we have seen liability decision made for and against the supermarket. Each case will have its own specific circumstances which the courts will assess. There have also been grape injury claims where a court’s decision has been overturned on appeal; highlights the complexity of the issue and the importance of risk management.
To have any chance of success the solicitor must establish the supermarket breached its duty of care to its customer who suffered the injury – also known as negligence. The supermarket needs to be vigilant with its slip and fall procedures. This procedure can’t sit on a desk collecting dust, it needs to be a living document which all staff understand and consistently follow in their role.
Having the procedures is only one piece of the puzzle as the courts will look for evidence from both parties. Documenting the time, date, staff member and location of the slip audit process is critical. As technology continues to advance, the quality of CCTV footage has improved dramatically and become significant more cost effective. It is very difficult for customers to dispute video evidence and the footage removes the “he said – she said” uncertainty or fraudulent claims. AVIVA Insurance company reported a 20% increase in fraudulent slip and fall claims in the last 12 months.
Public liability insurance is a supermarket’s final line of defense and allows the owners to sleep easy at night. If a letter of demand is ever received for an injury the insurance will cover the legal costs and damages awarded by the courts.
Please contact Adroit Insurance & Risk on 1300 6923 7648 to discuss your insurance needs with one of our specialist supermarket risk advisers.
Article written by Anthony DiFiore
Specialty Risks Manager | Adroit Insurance and Risk