Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Fall on wet floor in shop - what would you do?

(87 Posts)
mamhaf Tue 27-Jan-09 16:50:15

I'm quite angry about this and would like some views.

Last week, I filled up at a Somerfield petrol station then went in to pay.

It was sheeting with rain, and as I stepped on the tiles inside the automatic door, I slipped on the floor and landed on my back, hurting my wrist, arm, shoulder and, worst of all, exacerbating an existing back problem which I'd had successful treatment for but which is now painful again (the other aches and pains cleared up after a few days).

There was a built-in doormat, but also a line of floor tiles just inside the door before the mat, and it was those that were wet and slippery.

At the time, I called for the manager, who mopped the floor but said "I've told them the mat should go all the way to the door"

I asked her to fill in an accident report form, but she said she didn't have access to the computer and wrote down my contact details, saying someone would be in touch.

No-one has - so although she took my information, I don't know that it has been recorded.

I phoned the local council the next day and asked them to go along and assess the premises - my fall was bad enough, but I'd hate someone else to go through the same.

I feel I should write directly to Somerfield too, or maybe even contact a personal injury lawyer.

What do you think?

Swedes Tue 27-Jan-09 16:55:06

I don't agree with this culture of legal action for accidents. If you had slipped on your friend's floor would you be seeking to also sue her for compensation for pain and suffering.?

CountessDracula Tue 27-Jan-09 17:04:40

Yes write to them
No don't call a PI Lawyer (what swedes said - plus what are you going to sue them for? You don't get a lot for a bruised botty tbh)

I would however go to the Doctor and register that your existing back prob is exacerbated so that if it should result in long-term damage that causes you loss of earnings you have reported it.

elsiepiddock Tue 27-Jan-09 17:08:21

Would write to them, but that's all.

Personal injury lawyer? Way ott imo.

LuckySalem Tue 27-Jan-09 17:11:26

What is up with this culture now of "no win, no fee"

I understand your hurt but sueing them isn't going to achieve anything really is it?

Send the store a letter saying that you fell and we're hurt and feel the mat should go all the way to the door.

They may offer you something anyway but don't expect it.

wombleprincess Tue 27-Jan-09 17:23:48

if you go to PI solicitor, you may get some cash after a whole load of agro, and end up paying it back through price rises etc to cover people who sue them. you wouldnt do this if it were at a friends house.

Milliways Tue 27-Jan-09 17:29:17

Write to them & they may send you some gift vouchers.

Everyone said I should sue the hospital for sending DS's fractured leg home as a sprain - but to what purpose? I too believe the claim culture has gone mad.

Pollyanna Tue 27-Jan-09 17:31:55

you can't sue them as you haven't suffered any loss/injury.

brimfull Tue 27-Jan-09 17:34:06

My friend had her dd's friend round to play and they were rather too boisterous in the lounge and the telly fell on the girl resulting in minor injury-she was sued by the parents shock
Please don't contribute to this ridiculous litigious culture any more.

pagwatch Tue 27-Jan-09 17:36:17

My DD broke her arm atthe school gym class

I can't believe how many tossers people have suggestedthat I should sue the school.


HecateQueenOfGhosts Tue 27-Jan-09 17:47:18

I think you should write to them, but not sue. You slipped on a wet floor - it happens. They should have dried it, you should have looked where you were going! grin

I fell in a shop once. They had a floor with a massive dip the whole length of it hmm in a straight line. Obv the shop had been 2 at one point, knocked together and they had fucked up the floor. Thing is, you couldn't really SEE it unless you stared closely at it because of the style of flooring and there were no warnings or anything. So I went over, landed flat on my back, skirt up, legs akimbo. blush

I ended up going to a&e in the end, because when I got home, the pain was too bad. Nothing broken but nasty sprain.

I wrote them a letter telling them about it and advising them to sort it out (the manager at the time just wanted me up and out tbh!) and they wrote back sorry blah blah blah here's a £10 voucher no liability blah blah blah.

I could have sued, I suppose - clearly they should not have had a wonky floor - but <shrug> accidents happen.

The important thing was they put a line of hazard tape stuff (the yellow and black striped tape) along the line, so it was clearly visible. Good.

Today I tripped over that sticky-up bit in a doorway at my grandad's house, nearly fell flat on my face grin. Really he should do something about that, but I'm not going to sue him either grin

My opinion, for the little it's worth - save the lawsuits for those things that really warrant them.

Twims Tue 27-Jan-09 17:50:00

No don't go to a NWNF solicitor.

georgiemum Tue 27-Jan-09 17:50:47

I wouldn't contact one of those lawyers - they seem a bit shady...

I fell (spectacularly I may add) on my backside at work (slipped on a wet marble floor after a heavy raifall) - right by the front door and to the horror of the security guards. I never thought to sue though, I did ask them to put a mat down though.

RiaParkinson Tue 27-Jan-09 17:51:30

this is the uk not the U S of A

christiana Tue 27-Jan-09 17:51:52

Message withdrawn

Pollyanna Tue 27-Jan-09 17:53:13

my fil made his wife sue him several times after car accidents when he had been driving. He was a personal injury solicitor though smile

Flier Tue 27-Jan-09 17:56:32

OP - how many days since it happened? I would write a letter to the store manager and copied to the petrol station manager just stating what you have put in your op regarding the placing of the mat and the fact you have really hurt your back and the fact you were told that someone would contact you. Tell them that you want to be sure it has been officially reported in an accident book so that it is something that is taken seriously so that no-one else slips there.

WEESLEEKITLauriefairycake Tue 27-Jan-09 17:59:09

Not sure I entirely agree. I think the problem is that the manager acknowledged the problem, acknowledged her staff hadn't complied with instructions/elf and safety protocols in the store.

And then further compounded it by not calling you.hmm

I think you have a right to be very pissed off about this. It's not as simple as if you fell at a friends, it's more about how they didn't prevent a known risk in my opinion and acknowledged that to you.

I would be writing a very strongly worded letter and checking out if further treatment (physio?) for your back will put you back to where you were physically before you entered the shop.

FAQtothefuture Tue 27-Jan-09 18:03:21

I would definitely right to them to ensure that they have actually recorded it as they should do.

Wouldn't sue though.

mamhaf Tue 27-Jan-09 18:13:59

It's just under a week since it happened.

I am very annoyed about the back injury starting up again - I had had a steroid injection which had cleared up the pain - the injection itself into my spine was very unpleasant which is why I'm cross about it being just as painful now, after the fall.

But my main concern is that they've taken note and are doing something stop it happening to someone else, so I'll definitely write to them as, from what the manager said, it did appear to be a known risk.

And I obviously will buy my diesel elsewhere in future.

mumoverseas Wed 28-Jan-09 06:11:05

You have to write to them and have it documented and legally they should have put it in their accident book. Don't believe that the manager didn't have access to it hmm

I am slightly suprised by the somewhat negative comments you've received by people saying you shouldn't sue. I'm not saying you should, but you need to cover yourself and protect your position. You say you have already had back problems and this fall may have made worse. At the moment, it is very early days and it may well be you have a few bruises and aches and pains which will be gone in a week or so. If this is the case, fine, no need to seek any legal recourse, just write to them and remind them of the accident and hope that they take action to ensure this doesn't happen again.

However, what if your back condition has been permanently made worse? What if it deteriorates further and you need hospital treatment/surgery and are forced to give up work?

I'm not being melodramatic, I've been there. I had an accident 16 years ago where amongst other injuries I injured my back (not a trip or slip case though). I was told it was just pulled muscles, don't worry about it type thing. My back however got worse and I spent years seeing various different experts for treatment and in the end I needed major spinal surgery. My lower back is now held together with several titanium pins and I have not had a pain free day since the surgery that was supposed to have fixed it 8 years ago. As a result of my injury, I could not carry on my job (as a police officer) and therefore had to leave the career I loved and re-train.

Luckily, my accident was witnessed and documented and I was able to make a claim for some damages/compensation. However, nothing will ever make up for the fact that I lost the job I loved, my home (was living in police accomodation) and that I will spend the rest of my life with constant back pain.

I'm not saying your case is the same as mine as it clearly isn't, but you still need to cover yourself just in case you find that your back does get worse. You need the accident documented and if your back gets better soon, fantastic. If not, at least you have some re-course as you would have 3 years to make a claim. In any event, you should pursue this with the garage to ensure they take steps to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else who could perhaps receive far greater injuries.

Despite of my advice above, I also don't agree with the way many people are so happy to sue at the drop of a hat like in the USA. You do however have to be sensible and realistic about this.

Watusi Wed 28-Jan-09 06:21:46

I'd sue if it was bad enough to cause enduring suffering and therefore loss of income, but not otherwise.

Watusi Wed 28-Jan-09 06:23:45

I think you need to get your back injury looked at so you know what has been done to it iyswim and whether they can sort it out, it might be a different injury to what you already had iyswim.

wombleprincess Wed 28-Jan-09 09:48:57

how was your original back injury caused?

Penthesileia Wed 28-Jan-09 09:58:31

Whilst I agree that sueing might be a bit OTT (though not, I suppose, if it finally results in loss of earnings, etc.), I also think that you are right to be annoyed that they haven't followed up your complaint. Shops have a responsibility to make their premises safe for shoppers, and we have a reasonable expectation to feel safe while shopping there.

I slipped on some spilt lotion in Boots when I was 38 weeks pregnant. Luckily I am as agile as a cat hmm grin and managed to fall onto my knee (adopting a sort of man-proposing-to-woman pose). It hurt like buggery and bled everywhere. But thank god I didn't fall onto my bump, or hurt my baby.

I was enraged, and went to the desk, and asked them to clear it up to prevent further accidents.

I'm not joking: it took them 15mins to get someone out there with a mop.

Now, they're not mind-readers, so unless someone tells them that there's a spillage in the aisle, I understand they can't be expected to know about it. But I told them, and they spent most of the time staring at me, basically asking what I expected them to do about it!

I am very cross with myself, however, that beyond asking them to clear it up, and hovering over the spilt lotion until they did, I did not pursue the matter further, ie. write to the manager and complain at their lack of prompt action (and indeed lack of apology to me). I was a bit too shaken by the fall, and just wanted to put it behind me and focus on my soon-to-arrive baby.

So, I'd say: call again, and if you get no joy, just write to the general manager.

Phew: long post. Sorry!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: