Wed 31 Jan 2018

Supermarket Slips - How to successfully make a claim

Whilst you may think going to the supermarket for your weekly shop is a mundane, risk free task, all too often people suffer injuries when they slip on the floor.  

This is sometimes due to a spillage in one of the aisles which has not been cleaned up, or as a result of a wet floor which has just been cleaned but with no warning sign put down to let customers know it may be slippery

The law provides a remedy for this type of accident, which also applies to any type of shop.  Under the Occupier's Liability (Scotland) Act 1960, landlords who are responsible for the maintenance or repair of premises have a duty of care to persons visiting the property.  This duty requires them to take "such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that that person (i.e. a visitor to the property) will not suffer injury or damage by reason of…dangers which are due to the state of the premises or to anything done or remitted to be done on them".

If the supermarket do not meet this duty, they will be held liable for any injuries you sustain.

What is the duty?

By law, if there is a food or drink spillage in a supermarket, it must be cleaned up as quickly as possible.

In order to avoid liability, a supermarket must be able to prove it has an adequate system of inspection and cleaning in place.  Previous cases have shown that this system should extend beyond a "clean as you go" policy, whereby employees simply clean up a spillage if they see it at any point during their shift, and must also include regular floor inspections.  In addition, a supermarket must be able to show that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure their premises are safe.  What is reasonable is ultimately a matter for the court, however, if a supermarket does not have these systems in place, they will likely be held liable. 

However, there are circumstances where a supermarket may be able to escape liability even if a customer has slipped on a spillage.  This may be the case if the spillage occurred only a few moments prior to the accident meaning that they could not reasonably have cleaned up the mess before the accident occurred.  However, to be successful in defending a case on this basis, the supermarket must show they have an adequate system and inspection regime in place.

What to do if you have an accident

  1. You should report the accident to a member of staff, ensure they record your accident in the accident book and ask for a copy of the accident book entry. 
  2. Take photographs of the area where you slipped, including photographs of the spillage.
  3. If possible, you should take the name, address and contact telephone number of anybody who witnessed your accident.


Our team can advise you on the chances of being successful in making a claim against the supermarket, in addition to the value of your claim. See our dedicated page on 'slipping and tripping accidents' for more information. 

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