Slips and falls are among the most common accidents in the UK. Over 80,000 people require hospital treatment after slipping or tripping each year, and while many of these injuries happen in the home or when walking in the street, plenty of people slip and trip in shops and stores. One of the major causes of trips in retail establishments is uneven flooring or loose carpet. However, knowing if you can make a claim is not always easy.
Duty of care
Shops or retail premises are a place of work. As such, retailers have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for people in their premises; this includes both workers and shoppers. If you have tripped on a carpet in a shop, a personal injury solicitor has to establish if the shop owner has failed in their duty of care, and the first step in doing this is to establish why you tripped on the carpet.
In order for the shop to be liable for your injury, it has to be established whether the carpet presented a hazard. A trip hazard could include a ripped or torn carpet or one covered in a spilt liquid. However, even if the carpet did pose a trip hazard, the retailer may still not be liable. For instance, if another shopper spilled a drink or accidentally tore the carpet with a buggy just before you slipped, the retailer can’t be held responsible. However, if the retailer knew for a while that the carpet posed a trip hazard and did nothing about it, they will have failed in their duty of care and you can make a claim.
If you have an accident in a shop, you need to report it to the shop assistants or manager. All accidents occurring in a shop or workplace have to be recorded in an accident book. Your personal injury solicitor can request to see this book and see if any similar incidents have occurred, which may indicate the carpet posed a trip hazard for some time. In addition, witnesses, such as shop assistants or regular customers may be able to confirm that the trip hazard existed for a period of time.