The following case is a lesson for both customers visiting a place of business and businesses who have members of the public on their premises in the course of doing business.
We recently acted for a client, Mrs E. On a pretty normal day, she took her car to be serviced at a local car servicing and repair garage. While there, she tripped and fell over in the private forecourt of the business, as the forecourt had a large hole in it. Mrs E suffered a significant injury to her right arm and shoulder in the process.
The defendants attempted to defend the claim, but were unsuccessful. They eventually settled for £27,500.
As a business, you can never be too careful when you have members of the public on site. Even though you may feel they have not taken due care and attention if they’ve suffered an injury while visiting your premises, the fact is, you are responsible for their safety.
It is your as the operator of the premises to ensure that any potential safety issues, such as loose paving slabs, holes in the ground, loose fencing, faulty safety barriers, fire exits and the like, are kept in good order. It’s good practice, at least once a week, to walk round all the areas members of the public have access to and check for any obvious safety issues, and have them repaired quickly, or at least made safe until they can be repaired properly.
If a customer does have an accident, rather than blame them and put their backs up, be attentive and show support. Offer first aid or to call an ambulance if that’s necessary. However, due diligence pays too. So, ensure you document the situation thoroughly. Your own insurers will likely require this too. Take photos of the cause of the accident and the injuries sustained by the customer. Make sure you have their permission before photographing them though.
As a member of the public going about your daily business, you don’t ordinarily expect to find yourself requiring medical assistance or even to be driven off to the hospital, when you go shopping. Or, in this case, taking your car for servicing.
But, it can happen. Just like a car accident, where you are hit hard but don’t immediately feel that there’s any problem, the full consequences may only appear later. This is why it’s so important not to simply brush off incidents like this.
It doesn’t take long to document what happened. Take a few photos of the cause of the accident, make sure you log the time and date. If you can ask for the names and contact details of anyone who may have witnessed the accident. In many ways, this is not that different from what you would sensibly do when involved in a car accident.
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Making a claim for personal injury accidents of this nature requires the expertise of a solicitor trained and experienced in the field. Romain Colman’s David Dolties, has a long and successful track record of winning complicated personal injury cases involving tripping accidents on business premises.
If you have or know somebody that has experienced such an accident, don’t delay, act now as time is of the essence. Call Romain Coleman on 0208 520 4555.