I fell and broke my ankle in a shop. Can I sue?

Legal advice: I slipped on a banana in a shop. Can I be compensated?
I fell and broke my ankle in a shop. Can I sue?
Legal scenario

SCENARIO: 

Approximately twelve months ago, I was doing my shopping in one of the major department stores in the city when I slipped and fell on a banana which had fallen from the fruit stall in the store. 

In this fall, I broke my right ankle. 

I had to attend hospital to have my ankle placed in a cast and I was not able to play competitive soccer for about six months. 

Even now I am walking with a limp and I am still having physiotherapy on my right ankle. 

Is it possible for me to bring a claim for compensation for this incident and for all the extra expenses incurred?

ANSWER: 

I am sorry to read of the accident which happened to you and I do hope you are feeling a lot better in the very near future and able to get back to playing your soccer.

In short, the answer to your query is that you are entitled to bring a claim for the injury you have suffered in this accident.

If you have an accident while on public property which is not your fault then you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation for an accident of this type includes medical bills, loss of earnings, pain and suffering and future medical expenses should they arise.

The most common types of accidents in public places are public liability claims arising from slips, trips and falls in public places.

It is the position that those responsible for public areas have a duty to protect you from injury. Employers have to follow guidelines to prevent accidents happening in the workplace. The same applies to shop owners, office managers and restaurant owners.

The first question to be asked in relation to your accident is whether the shop owner had an adequate system of cleaning in place in order to clean up and remove the fallen fruit/food in an efficient a manner as possible.

As with all accidents such as this in public places, it is important that you advise the shop owner or a staff member of the fact of your fall and of your injury. 

You should ask the shop owner to ensure that your accident is recorded in their accident log book. 

Also, you should enquire of the shop owner if there is any CCTV of your fall and if it is still available you should ask that it be preserved. If possible, try and obtain photographic evidence of where you fell and get details of any witnesses to your fall.

In so far as time limits are concerned, you have a period of two years from the date of your accident to bring a claim for compensation for the injury you have suffered together with associated expenses incurred. 

However, while there is still time remaining for you to bring a claim arising out of this incident, you would be best advised to pursue such a claim sooner rather than later.

*Mary Scriven is a Partner in Cantillons Solicitors of 38/39 South Mall, Cork an award winning law firm practising in all areas of litigation.

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