Where you have an accident in a public place and you believe that it wasn’t your fault, you might assume that you can make a claim against the person or company responsible for the inspection, cleaning and repair of the premises where the accident occurred.
Whilst it is relatively easy to prove that you had an accident and sustained injuries as a result, claims in these cases can be difficult because more and more defendants are able to rely on a “clean-as-you-go” defence.
What is “clean-as-you-go”?
Put simply, it’s a cleaning strategy adopted by those companies that invite members of the public onto their premises, such as shops, malls or leisure complexes. The policy is supposed to minimise the risk of lawful visitors being subject to hygiene and safety hazards. Supermarkets, in particular, are fond of this policy and specifically train their staff to clean as they go about their usual duties. Staff are expected to deal with non-urgent hazards, such as spillages, as and when they are noticed.
“Clean-as-you-go” activities performed by staff are not documented, but as long as the company or occupier of premises has adequately trained its staff in “clean as you go”, it can rely on this policy in the defence of any claim. Supermarkets often have hourly store inspections when their staff look specifically for spillages/hazards around the store. Check-sheets are completed to confirm that these hourly inspections have been carried out and these are the documents that a defendant company will rely upon when it comes to defending claims. The court will look to determine whether the records are accurate and whether the routine of inspection was “reasonable”. If the defendant can evidence that the checks were done, and done accurately, and that it has a reasonable system, it’s unlikely that anyone would be successful with a compensation claim against it.
However! Here at Graysons, we often succeed with these types of claims.
How can these claims succeed?
If we pursue a defendant for you following such an accident, and that defendant denies liability, it has a duty to disclose all of the records that it intends to rely upon in support of its defence. This includes inspection and cleaning records, along with risk assessments and a copy of the company’s “clean as you go” policy. If, when we see the documents, we believe that they do not prove that the defendant has such an inspection and cleaning system, that it was not followed on the day of the accident or that it is flawed in some other way, and we feel that the defendant company or person is liable for the accident, we will pursue it for the compensation you deserve. We will either try to settle the case or will commence court proceedings and take the matter to trial if it becomes necessary. All on a no-win, no fee-basis.
If you have had an accident in a public place and it was not your fault, please contact our personal injury experts now. We will arrange a free of charge meeting to discuss your case and offer you a no- win, no-fee agreement if we are able to take on your claim. You can also find out more about these types of cases on our web pages.
Author: Tracey Dickinson, personal injury specialist.