If you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident in a retail store, supermarket or another type of shopping centre, here is what you should know before making a slip and fall compensation claim.
Table of Contents
- What to do if I slipped?
- How long after a fall can you claim compensation?
- What are the most common slip and fall injuries?
- What to do if you fall in a business?
- What happens if you fall over in a supermarket?
- How much do you get for a slip and fall case?
- What is the average payout for a personal injury claim in Australia?
- How is pain and suffering compensation calculated in Australia?
- Do most slip and fall cases settle out of court?
- How do you negotiate a slip and fall settlement?
What to do if I slipped?
If you have slipped in a public place and suffered injury then you may have a slip and fall claim for compensation. After the slip and fall accident, it is recommended that you record the personal details of any witnesses and take photographs of the area where you slipped.
The injured person should report the slip and fall injury to the place where the injury occurred and ask them to at least retain records (such as CCTV and incident reports) regarding the injury.
Slip and fall cases are the most common public liability claims. Public liability claims can be somewhat speculative and unpredictable. In most cases, special rules under the Civil Liability Act 2002 apply. If you have made a slip and fall injury claim, or you are unsure how you should proceed with your claim under personal injury law you should seek legal advice from a slip and fall lawyer.
How long after a fall can you claim compensation?
Most people who have a slip and fall accident have symptoms immediately. A slip and fall injury claim can be made as soon as practicable following the injury. However, it may not be practicable for some slip and fall injuries. If you’d like to claim compensation for a fall injury, don’t wait for more than 3 years after the slip and fall injury. This is because Section 14 of the Limitation Act 2005 relevantly states:
An action for damages relating to a personal injury to a person cannot be commenced if 3 years have elapsed since the cause of action accrued.
As a result, most injured people will have 3 years from the date of the injury to commence legal proceedings, and if they do not do so then they are likely to lose their legal rights. For example, if the injury occurred on 15 April 2022 then the limitation date (last day on which legal proceedings can commence without being statute barred) would be 14 April 2025. Please note that special (usually longer) limitation periods apply if a person was a child at the time of the injury.
What are the most common slip and fall injuries?
The most common slip and fall injury would probably be a back injury, this is because the mechanism involved in fall claims is usually that the injured person slips on some kind of liquid, following which they lose their balance, and fall onto the bottom resulting in jarring into the lower back. Other common injuries include break injuries to the ankle and bones of the leg as well as ‘fall on outstretched hand’ or FOOSH injuries whereby a person’s upper limb takes the force of the fall and injuries sustained to the upper limb are the main injuries.
No Win, No Fee Lawyers
Under the No Win, No Fee arrangement, you won’t need to pay Foyle Legal’s Legal fees (the fees that we charge for the work we do on your claim), unless we get you a settlement amount.
Your lawyer will take you through this arrangement in more detail including any terms and conditions in your obligation free first initial consultation.
What to do if you fall in a business (e.g. supermarket or shopping centre)?
If you fall in a business you should take photographs of the area where the fall accident occurred. You should also record the name of any witnesses before you report the fall to a responsible person in the business. You should ask the business to retain any records regarding the fall claim including any relevant CCTV.
If you have made a public liability claim you could speak with public liability lawyers who will often provide legal advice on a no win no fee basis. This means that legal fees will not be payable unless you get compensation for your public liability injury claim.
What happens if you fall over in a supermarket?
If you fall over in a supermarket then you are not entitled to compensation unless you can prove that a negligent act or omission or breach of statutory duty, such as their duty as an occupier, was the cause of your injury.
Following a slip trip or fall, it is recommended that you collect evidence to show that the shopping centre or the supermarket has failed to take reasonable care for your safety. For instance, if you fell over on a wet floor of a shopping centre, you should take pictures of the area where the injury happened to show important facts such as the extent of any spillage on the floor and whether there are any wet floor signs in the vicinity of the accident. Witness details are usually very helpful, as witnesses can be called on at a later stage to show that the slip and fall accident occurred due to someone else’s negligence.
You should report the fall to a responsible person in the supermarket, or the shopping centre. You should ask the supermarket to retain any records regarding the fall claim including any relevant CCTV.
How much do you get for a slip and fall case?
The amount you will get for a slip and fall claim varies from case to case. The main factors that will affect the outcome are:
- How the accident happened, and whether the injured person can prove the injury occurred due to a negligent act or omission of another party;
- Whether the negligent party is injured (most companies are insured);
- The extent of the injuries sustained and the effect on your life;
- Medical evidence available to show the effect of the injuries sustained;
- Whether there will be a loss of future earnings;
- The extent of any domestic assistance required;
- The extent of any lost income, medical expenses, economic loss and the change in the injured person’s financial situation following the slip and fall accident.
A person who does not suffer a big injury or serious injury and can prove negligence may recover the whole amount their case is worth, whereas a person with a poor case in negligence, but a big injury may have to take a significant discount.
What is the average payout for a personal injury claim in Australia?
Slip and fall cases payouts vary from case to case. Many smaller cases tend to settle for between $15,000 and $30,000.00. Larger cases where evidence is good regarding negligence can settle for far more. There is no data on which to provide an average. Unlike motor vehicle accident injury claim cases, the alleged negligent party will usually fight the claim on the basis that they are not negligent and on the basis that the injured person did not suffer from part or all of the injuries that they have alleged.
How is pain and suffering compensation calculated in Australia?
In Western Australia, pain and suffering compensation (also called non-economic loss) in a slip and fall claim or public liability claim is calculated based on:
- Other cases that are similar (called precedent); and
- The Civil Liability Act 2002.
Slip and fall settlements are usually reached by negotiation between the insurance company and the injured person seeking compensation. In deciding how much to offer for pain and suffering, the main consideration is usually the reports provided by medical professionals which set out the injuries sustained, and the effect on the injured person’s life.
Do most slip and fall cases settle out of court?
Most slip and fall cases do settle out of court for a confidential compensation payout. In our experience, the main thing that stops a slip trip or fall injury claim from reaching a settlement agreement is the evidence concerning negligence. If there is no evidence or poor evidence concerning negligence then the insurance company may not be prepared to make an offer of settlement.
How do you negotiate a slip and fall settlement?
Slip and fall injury claims can be difficult due to the injury claims process requiring that the person making the claim prove that the occupier of premises was negligent in causing their injury.
In addition compensation claim cases often go on for several years. It is important to continue going to the doctor so that the injured person can obtain evidence to show the injury sustained as a result of the slip trip or fall. It is important to keep records to show the extent of any medical expenses regarding your medical treatment.
Foyle Legal are compensation experts and have a large amount of experience as a law firm advising about personal injury law. Foyle Legal’s legal team can advise you about your legal rights and how to make a successful claim regarding an injury at someone else’s premises.
At Foyle Legal, your initial consultation is obligation free and we look forward to helping you to get the most out of a claim you have made for a slip and fall injury.