Café assistant's slip accident

When she suffered a slip injury at work, our client was employed by WM Morrison Supermarkets as a café assistant.

On 17 March 2016, she had just completed the first half of her shift and so went on a break. She proceeded to walk through the supermarket but realised she couldn't go her normal way as there were customers blocking her route. So, instead, she chose a route that required her to walk past the stalls in the produce section. As she walked between two stalls, our client suddenly felt something underfoot that caused her to lose her footing. She fell and hit her head on the floor.

After her fall, she felt very disorientated and could feel a sharp pain in her head and her hip. Her colleagues and other customers surrounded her, trying to help. It was from them that she was able to gather what had caused her to fall: fruit juice had been spilled on the floor and not cleaned up. This was clear from the skid mark left on the floor where our client had slipped.

The consequences

Paramedics arrived at the supermarket to examine her. They thought she had hit her coccyx and that she would experience swelling and bruising. At the time, they thought it unnecessary to take her to hospital and instead recommended that she take co-codamol for the pain.

A few hours after returning home, our client experienced neck pain. This pain meant she could not get comfortable and caused her to stay up all night. She called a doctor to make a home visit the next day, at which point her left hand, neck, and shoulder were all swollen. The doctor told her she had suffered a whiplash injury in her neck.

Concerned that she had also suffered a fracture, the doctor ordered an ambulance to take our client to the hospital, where she was given x-rays. The x-rays confirmed she hadn't suffered any fractures, but hospital staff provided her with a brace for her left wrist.

She was absent from the date of the accident until 7 April, but she was still experiencing slight pain at this point. As a result, she sustained a loss of earnings amounting to £387.51. Our client's injuries eventually resolved within three months.

The settlement

The café assistant was able to instruct Thompsons through her union, Usdaw, and we intimated a claim to her employer.

As they had not made sure the shop floor was free of slip hazards, and therefore had failed in their duty of care to their employees, the woman’s employer was found liable for the accident. Our client also believes that the footwear she was provided with increased the chances of her slipping, as the soles can easily become clogged.

We were happy to settle the case pre-litigation after making a counter proposal for the sum of £6,500.

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