A woman who sustained personal injuries as a result of a fall in a supermarket has lost her case because she failed to prove that there was water on the floor that caused her to slip.
The woman, who was a Nurse by profession, brought proceedings against Dunnes Stores for injuries suffered by her when she fell while leaving their store in Clondalkin on the 13th June 2013.
Her evidence was that the cause of her accident was the presence of water on the laminated timber floor and when she got to her feet she noticed that the front of her left trouser leg was wet from just below the knee to about 2.5 inches above her ankle. She said she was also able to see a small quantity of water or clear liquid, as well as what she described as a skid mark on the floor.
The evidence of two Dunne’s employees was that they did not see water or any skid marks and nor did they have to clean the floor afterwards
The Trial Judge carefully considered the evidence given in the case including reviewing the CCTV footage and stills. Having examined the CCTV footage the Judge found that there was no evidence to explain the presence of water or any other type of liquid on the floor. The CCTV footage in the half hour before the accident did not show customers entering the store with umbrellas or wearing raincoats or otherwise providing a potential source to explain the floor being wet.
The Judge held that the injured party had to satisfy the Court, on the balance of probabilities, that her fall and subsequent injuries were caused by the presence of water or liquid on the floor. The Judge stated that if the Plaintiff had fallen as a result of a small quantity of water visible to her when she stood up then she would have mentioned it to the store employee as she spoke to him very quickly after the accident.
Commenting about this latest slip and fall injury case, Liam Moloney, Solicitor said “this judgement of The High Court shows how important it is that accidents are immediately reported to Supermarket staff. This must be done immediately after the accident and if at all possible an Accident Report Form completed and a copy kept by the injured person. A request should also be made for the safe retention of CCTV footage. When someone has a slip and fall accident, they have to prove that their injuries were caused as a result of the negligence of the Supermarket owner or staff. They can prove this by calling evidence from witnesses to show that there was a contaminant on the floor that caused them to fall or by the production of CCTV footage”.