You and the Law 20th September 2011

Slippery floor

Four months ago I slipped on some liquid on the floor of a supermarket.  I was five months pregnant at the time and bruised my elbow very badly and am still seeing the doctor about shooting pains up my arm.  The supermarket said I would be contacted by their insurance company, but I have heard nothing further.   Should I contact a solicitor about compensation?   HG

Discuss the accident with a solicitor specialising in personal-injury cases.  Most reputable supermarkets are alert to the possibility of such claims and usually have an inspection policy in place which might exonerate them from blame for accidents such as yours.  You will only succeed in a claim if you can show that the supermarket was aware of a potential hazard and failed to clear it up promptly, or that they failed to check the condition of the floor on a regular basis.

Jacket stolen

My three-year-old had his new jacket and cap stolen from the toddler group.  They were presents from the USA and cost about £100.  But although the group is insured, they are unwilling to put in a claim because they have to pay an excess.  Is there any chance I’ll get compensation from them?  PL

If you leave your possessions with someone for safekeeping they’re under a duty to take reasonable care of them.  So if you hand your coat to a waiter in a restaurant you may be able to claim compensation from the establishment if your coat goes missing.  However, in the case of the toddler group, I imagine you will probably have simply hung your son’s jacket and cap on a peg by the door.  So it’s likely that the group would be able to argue successfully that your possessions were never actually in their care.

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