Whilst Miss F was walking through a shopping centre she slipped and fell on some liquid. After she consulted Andrew Marsden at our Batley office, we put her claim. This ended up against the company who held the contract for managing the centre.
The law in relation to these claims comes mainly from a case of Ward -V- Tesco, which dealt with the perils of spilt yoghurt and how long it took the store to clean it up.
As with many things in law the key word is “reasonable”. If the spillage had been there for say a minute before Miss F slipped in it, it would not be reasonable to expect the defendant to have been able to clear it away. If it had been there 5 mins, it would.
The problem in these cases is that you rarely know how long a spillage has been there, so the claims are largely considered on the defendant’s systems. Which, every defendant will tell you are perfect and foolproof!!
In these cases you need a lawyer who is used to looking beyond what the defendant says, and someone who is experienced in looking closely at cleaning regimes, inspection records, etc. As, when you dig down into these, the systems are not always as perfect as the defendant would have it.
In Miss F’s claim, the defendant was at fault, has admitted liability and Miss F will now receive the compensation she deserves.