Penningtons Manches LLP’s personal injury team has recently settled a claim against Primark following an accident at its store in Slough. The claimant was shopping in the store when she slipped on an unmarked spillage on the floor. She landed heavily on her left elbow, causing a suspected fracture. She subsequently went on to develop persistent epicondylitis and a frozen shoulder.
Following initial investigations, a claim was submitted to the store’s insurer on the basis that the nature and extent of the hazard was such that it should have been identified earlier and either cleaned up or marked as a hazard. Initially, the insurer denied liability on the basis that the store operated a “clean as you go” policy whereby members of staff should report hazards when spotted. This would result in the hazard being cleared away. As the spillage had not been reported, Primark denied that it should be liable for the accident.
Penningtons Manches responded to allege that the “clean as you go” policy did not constitute a sufficient cleaning and inspection system as is required as there was effectively no comprehensive system of inspection at all. The store was therefore at fault for the accident.
The insurer subsequently responded to confirm liability was admitted. Penningtons Manches thereafter completed their investigations before a settlement was negotiated.
William Broadbent, associate in the personal injury team, commented: “We are pleased to have obtained a successful outcome for the claimant. She suffered a nasty injury which could have been avoided if the store implemented a system of inspection and cleaning. The “clean as you go” policy relied on a staff member happening to see a hazard before it caused an injury. This is clearly insufficient.
“Unfortunately, our client continues to suffer from some on-going symptoms as a result of her injuries. Hopefully her compensation money will enable her to obtain treatment which will result in a significant improvement.”
The claim was brought under the Occupiers Liability Act which reinforces the common law that occupiers are to ensure that lawful visitors are reasonably safe while using a premises for a purpose that they are lawfully entitled to do so.