Slip and Fall Compensation Lawyers Win Cole’s Case
Coles has fallen foul of the new legal trend in Australia, which sees successful compensation complaints by plaintiffs being awarded substantial amounts of money. In this particular case, a woman wearing thongs whilst shopping in a Cole’s supermarket slipped and injured herself. But the term ‘injured herself’ is not correct, as the court found that the lady concerned slipped because of Cole’s negligence. She was walking in front of a refrigerated cabinet containing fruit and vegetables; and was accompanied by her eight-year-old son. Apparently, the woman did the splits and then, was flung of her feet to hit the ground painfully.
Ms Hill, the woman who suffered the fall and consequent injuries, was awarded $292 335 in the NSW District Court. Her injuries to her left ankle required surgery, crutches for several weeks, and she now walks with a permanent limp. Judge Phillip Mahoney described her injury as severe and that this has affected her mobility and her ability to carry out the normal tasks of life. The amount of compensation awarded was influenced by the fact that Ms Hill had a disabled husband and the injury had made domestic life extremely challenging for the plaintiff.
Coles had argued that Ms Hill had injured herself through failing to be observant as to nearby hazards; and that it was her negligence which had caused the fall and the resultant injury. An employee of the Coles company gave evidence that he did not see anything on the ground immediately after Ms Hill’s fall. The court viewed CCTV footage from the supermarket, but critically there were 27 seconds of the film missing which would have shown the fall. Counsel for the plaintiff submitted that one could infer that the CCTV footage had been tampered with, but this was denied by the Cole’s store manager who had provided the CCTV footage. In the end, Judge Mahoney disagreed with Coles and found that Coles had a responsibility to ensure that its supermarket was safe for customers; and that there should have been a mat in front of the refrigerated cabinet. The mat, which was usually in place, had not been replaced by cleaners after cleaning the supermarket floor in this part of the store.
Slip and fall compensation lawyers win Cole’s case and pave the way for more successful compensatory cases like this in the future. Responsibility lies not with the individual anymore but with those who entice him or her into their store.