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Supermarket Slip and Fall Claims Guide

Updated on August 03, 2023 | Published on July 13, 2015

By Matthew Garling

If you've been injured in a slip and fall at Coles, Woolworths or any other Australian supermarket, you may be entitled to compensation.

This guide will help you understand everything you need to know to make a successful supermarket slip and fall claim and receive a compensation payout.

Find out if you have a claim in just 2-minutes

Our solicitors are experts in public liability and personal injury law and know the steps needed to secure you the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

What do I do if I’ve been injured at a supermarket?

If you have sustained an injury as a result of a fall in a supermarket like Woolworths or Coles this is what you need to do;

Step 1 – Report the accident to the supermarket themselves and ensure they have a written record of the fall, also ask them to keep any CCTV they have showing the fall. If you can get a copy of any written record or the CCTV.

Step 2  – Seek medical assistance for any injury sustained and make sure the Doctor records properly in their clinical notes how the fall occurred.

Step 3 – You need to be certain how the fall happened, what caused you to fall and how you fell, any doubt as to what happened can be used against you.

Step 4  – Contact a slip and fall lawyer who specialises in claims against Supermarkets. The best lawyers are Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury law.

Common Causes of Supermarket Slip and Fall Cases

There are several causes of supermarket slip and fall cases. In most cases, this will be due to the failure of the Supermarket to ;

  • Cleaning up spilt food and liquid as soon as reasonable to do so
  • Cleaning up litter and debris as soon as reasonable to do so
  • Placing signs down to warn of hazards
  • Ensuring the supermarket is well lit
  • Placing mats in areas where slips are likely
  • Failing to have in place a proper system of detecting and cleaning and spilt food or liquid so it does not present as a slip hazard.

How Much Compensation am I Entitled to if I Fall in a Supermarket?

Depending on the extent and severity of injuries, compensation payouts are usually in the range from thousands of hundreds of thousands. In 2020, a woman sued Woolworths for slipping and falling on a grape that led to a serious injury, resulting in a hip replacement. She was ultimately entitled to $1.3 million in damages. This is an extreme case, but compensation is payable for time off work, medical expenses and pain and suffering for your injuries.

How Much Will Submitting a Claim Cost Me?

There is no upfront payment of legal costs for making a public liability claim. We have a ‘No Win No Fee’ guarantee at Garling&Co, which means that if we lose the case, you will not owe us any money.

How Long do I have to make a Claim Following a Supermarket Injury?

Yes, there are strict time limits for which you must file a supermarket injury claim. All public liability claims must be lodged within 3 years of the date of ‘discoverability’. The date of discoverability is the date from which the injured person knows that:

  • The fact that the injury or death concerned has occurred.
  • The fact that the injury or death was caused by the fault of the defendant
  • In the case of injury, the fact that the injury was sufficiently serious to justify the bringing of an action on the cause of action.

It is best to ensure any claim is made within 3 years from the date of the injury.

What Can Supermarket Accident Compensation Pay For?

When claiming compensation for a fall in a supermarket, you may be entitled to the following types of compensation which lawyers call damages:

  • Loss of income (past and future)
  • Medical Expenses (past and future)
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Care and assistance

Such compensation is payable as a one off lump sum to cover both past and future losses you may have due to the injury sustained.

Supermarket slip and fall case example

The law of occupier’s liability in NSW as it relates to slip and fall claims in supermarkets was reviewed by the High Court of Australia in Strong v Woolworths Limited (2012) HCA 5.

The High Court found that a supermarket such as Woolworths as the occupier of the premises is required to carry out regular inspection and removal of slipping hazards at intervals no greater than 20 minutes.

The Plaintiff must demonstrate how long the substance was on the floor prior to the fall however this time period can be inferred by the circumstances surrounding the claim.

In this particular case, the Plaintiff slipped on a hot chip at around 12.30pm. The Plaintiff could not prove how long the chip was on the floor. The supermarket could only say that they last inspected the floor at 8.00am that morning. The court inferred that on the balance of probabilities the chip had been on the floor for more than the reasonable 20 minutes and as a result the plaintiff was successful in her claim.

It is crucial therefore in any claim to be able to demonstrate how long the cause of the slip was on the floor. If the supermarket carries out regular inspection and removal of any hazards and they can demonstrate that they did so within a 20 minute period then in most cases, the Plaintiff will not be successful.

In any supermarket claim a plaintiff’s lawyer should seek preliminary discovery before commencing proceedings to obtain all documents and evidence in relation to the defendant’s system of inspection and cleaning. If the defendant is unable to provide evidence that they had a system in place to inspect the floor every 20 minutes, then it is likely that the plaintiff will be successful.

Other examples of slip and falls in supermarkets are where there is a large puddle of water leaking from say a refrigeration system. The plaintiff will not be able to call direct evidence as to how long the water had been on the floor however can prove this in two ways.

The first would be to obtain the supermarkets records of inspection and cleaning. If the supermarket is unable to provide evidence that they at least inspected the floor every 20 minutes then it can be inferred that the water was on the floor for longer than 20 minutes. The second is the size of the pool of water which may also indicate that the water had been on the floor for more than 20 minutes.

It is crucial in a supermarket slip and fall claim to obtain evidence of the defendant’s system of inspection and cleaning. The court applied a period of 20 minutes to a supermarket such as Woolworths however in a high traffic area such as a food court, a reasonable system of inspection and cleaning may be 10 minutes. Likewise if the area where the fall occurred is less busy, a longer period will apply.

Should you have any questions in relation to slip, trip and fall claims, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Garling & Co Lawyers

Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law approved by New South Wales Law Society. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Matthew is also a member of...
Kimberly B.
23:14 14 Feb 24
Mathew is very knowledgable and has been of great assistance to me. All the staff are friendly and helpful. I'm so happy I found this firm.Thank you Mathew and team for your great work in my case.... I am 100% happy with what you achieved for me.read more
Julie M.
10:16 16 Jan 24
My last stage of Workers compensation claim was managed by Emma Perkins, Natasha Stojanovic, Rebecca Dunshea and Kelli Robinson at Garling and Co. Lawyers who went the extra mile with their service... from the beginning to the end of 3 years of my case. I have become very anxious with almost everything after a workplace injury and a lot of times I probably ask more questions than I need to, but Emma Perkins always finds clear answers to my questions in a short time and explains to me patiently even using her mealtime or between her meeting and make me feel that I have been very well take care and supported. I am so grateful and extremely satisfied. The excellent service, attitude, and culture of Metthew Garling and his team are second to none with a very high success rate. If you going to battle with your workplace injury for a short or long period, you are better off with Garling and Co. lawyers who are able back you up every step of the way. I strongly recommend it to anybody who needs their service like me. Julieread more
patrick P.
01:46 19 Dec 23
I like to say that I had a very wonderful experience,And the support, and also understanding with all my requests,I could not ask for a better team!Thank you Emma and also her assistant Rebecca... thank youread more
Kazi H.
13:38 13 Dec 23
Work cover fund is GOVT’S money but insurer think that it is from their 14th generation. So only they can have it. Not only that, people from the work, IME doctor from insurer, back to work... coordinator from work, Rehab provider from any side push the worker as hard as possible that the worker (doesn’t matter how the workers mental or psychical condition) either go back to his pre injury duty or leave the job.More over on that very bumpy any difficult journey some of them only treat the worker as a MONEY MAKING MECHINE .in some point worker feels like, no rooms to breath. On that moment need someone to support legally, someone to care, someone to relive.On my case I believe that, somehow, I manage to make my God happy. That’s why God sends me to Matthew Gerling and his team Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, and all of GARLING & co Lawyers.I am not good enough in English, can’t express my gratitude.Matthew, Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, please accept my appreciation and pass it to others.read more
Carol L.
01:32 29 Nov 23
Professional, understanding and friendly
Sean G.
23:21 14 Nov 23
Matthew Garling and everyone I spoke to at Garling and Co were kind, caring and compassionate. They were sensitive to my psychological condition and were patient in explaining everything to me, so... that I clearly understood the legal process. I am exceptionally grateful for the settlement outcome that Garling and Co obtained for me. Many thanks.read more
waqas A.
08:33 13 Nov 23
Great Experience with Garling & Co. Matthew explained everything in detail during the first appointment. Allison, Nathan, Rebecca and the staff have been extremely helpful. Thank You to the team and... lawyers at Garling & Co. for making the long process easy for me and getting an excellent outcome for my compensation claim.I would highly recommend Garling & Co. Lawyersread more
Saskia L.
21:42 08 Nov 23
The world of workers compensation is long, hard and confusing, but Emma and Rebecca at Garling & Co always treated my case with kindness, respect and understanding. No question was ever silly and... they always had time to make sure I knew what would happen next and how we could best prepare. I am so thankful for their expertise and could not have chosen anyone better to represent me.read more
Antonio P.
08:46 06 Nov 23
Thank you Matthew and his team for taking care of my case couldn’t ask for a better results and couldn’t have better team to do that thank you
Julie M.
00:40 06 Nov 23
Garlic & Co Lawyers have been wonderful, supporting me through some difficult times. With their assistance, positive outcomes were achieved. Many thanks to the Team.Julie
READ ALL TESTIMONIALS

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Kimberly B.
23:14 14 Feb 24
Mathew is very knowledgable and has been of great assistance to me. All the staff are friendly and helpful. I'm so happy I found this firm.Thank you Mathew and team for your great work in my case.... I am 100% happy with what you achieved for me.read more
Julie M.
10:16 16 Jan 24
My last stage of Workers compensation claim was managed by Emma Perkins, Natasha Stojanovic, Rebecca Dunshea and Kelli Robinson at Garling and Co. Lawyers who went the extra mile with their service... from the beginning to the end of 3 years of my case. I have become very anxious with almost everything after a workplace injury and a lot of times I probably ask more questions than I need to, but Emma Perkins always finds clear answers to my questions in a short time and explains to me patiently even using her mealtime or between her meeting and make me feel that I have been very well take care and supported. I am so grateful and extremely satisfied. The excellent service, attitude, and culture of Metthew Garling and his team are second to none with a very high success rate. If you going to battle with your workplace injury for a short or long period, you are better off with Garling and Co. lawyers who are able back you up every step of the way. I strongly recommend it to anybody who needs their service like me. Julieread more
patrick P.
01:46 19 Dec 23
I like to say that I had a very wonderful experience,And the support, and also understanding with all my requests,I could not ask for a better team!Thank you Emma and also her assistant Rebecca... thank youread more
Kazi H.
13:38 13 Dec 23
Work cover fund is GOVT’S money but insurer think that it is from their 14th generation. So only they can have it. Not only that, people from the work, IME doctor from insurer, back to work... coordinator from work, Rehab provider from any side push the worker as hard as possible that the worker (doesn’t matter how the workers mental or psychical condition) either go back to his pre injury duty or leave the job.More over on that very bumpy any difficult journey some of them only treat the worker as a MONEY MAKING MECHINE .in some point worker feels like, no rooms to breath. On that moment need someone to support legally, someone to care, someone to relive.On my case I believe that, somehow, I manage to make my God happy. That’s why God sends me to Matthew Gerling and his team Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, and all of GARLING & co Lawyers.I am not good enough in English, can’t express my gratitude.Matthew, Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, please accept my appreciation and pass it to others.read more
Carol L.
01:32 29 Nov 23
Professional, understanding and friendly
Sean G.
23:21 14 Nov 23
Matthew Garling and everyone I spoke to at Garling and Co were kind, caring and compassionate. They were sensitive to my psychological condition and were patient in explaining everything to me, so... that I clearly understood the legal process. I am exceptionally grateful for the settlement outcome that Garling and Co obtained for me. Many thanks.read more
waqas A.
08:33 13 Nov 23
Great Experience with Garling & Co. Matthew explained everything in detail during the first appointment. Allison, Nathan, Rebecca and the staff have been extremely helpful. Thank You to the team and... lawyers at Garling & Co. for making the long process easy for me and getting an excellent outcome for my compensation claim.I would highly recommend Garling & Co. Lawyersread more
Saskia L.
21:42 08 Nov 23
The world of workers compensation is long, hard and confusing, but Emma and Rebecca at Garling & Co always treated my case with kindness, respect and understanding. No question was ever silly and... they always had time to make sure I knew what would happen next and how we could best prepare. I am so thankful for their expertise and could not have chosen anyone better to represent me.read more
Antonio P.
08:46 06 Nov 23
Thank you Matthew and his team for taking care of my case couldn’t ask for a better results and couldn’t have better team to do that thank you
Julie M.
00:40 06 Nov 23
Garlic & Co Lawyers have been wonderful, supporting me through some difficult times. With their assistance, positive outcomes were achieved. Many thanks to the Team.Julie
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
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