How Far Does A Supermarket’s Duty Of Care Extend? It’s Further Than You Think
Posted on 27th April 2020
We all know that when shopping in a supermarket, or any other shop, the owner, or occupier (at the time of the index incident), of the business owes any and all visitors a duty of care, and that if they fail in that duty, we are entitled to make a claim for any personal injury or loss suffered.
But how far does that duty extend?
You might be forgiven for thinking that once you leave their premises, the shop is now in the clear and what happens elsewhere cannot possible be their fault. This, however, is not the case and in fact, here at MG Legal your Personal Injury Solicitor in Preston, we have successfully pursued supermarkets for injuries sustained at home as a result of their selling unsafe items.
One customer of a Tesco shop in Plymouth (reported here by the Metro),purchased a bottle of wine and a single-use carrier bag to put it in. She was stepping off the bus on her way home when the bag split, the wine fell and broke on the pavement next to her leg, shattered and caused severe damage to her ankle. The customer has a clear right to claim against the shop in question as the bag was the cause of the incident, even though it occurred outside the shop.
How does the duty of care work outside the shop?
Whatever is sold within the shop must foreseeably and reasonably be safe for the duration of its use. Hopefully you aren’t eating your tea right now because one client MG Legal successfully acted for found a fingernail in a pie and on another, a supermarket worker assured our client, who was allergic to onion, that her sandwich contained no onion, but it did. Both times our personal injury solicitors in Preston were successful, and the supermarket settled, with our clients receiving compensation, that they were more than happy with (read our reviews- they speak for themselves).
This is because, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 makes it a legal requirement that all good and services provided after 01st October 2015 must be of “Satisfactory Quality”, “Fit for Purpose” and “As Described”. So, whilst this won’t give you any rights if you don’t like that “new and improved flavour” of your favourite cereal it does protect you against instances of injury, even if this does not occur until after you have left the shop, gone home and then used the product.
Where does the duty end?
This is arguable, however, usually in terms of an injury claim, the longer the item is used for, the less likely your claim would be to succeed. In the case above with the carrier bag, the bag was “single-use” and so, if you then attempted to re-use it, you would be unlikely to have a claim because it only requires to be “Fit for Purpose” for one journey. So, if you can’t prove you bought that “single-use” bag that day, you likely offer the supermarket a viable Defence. On the whole, a “bag-for-life” looks a safer investment for your wallet and your ankles.
Food is simpler, as we only eat food once, although if it spends time in your fridge or freezer, the longer the duration between purchase and consumption, the longer the period of time for potential cross contamination, or at least the viability of an argument in Defence by the shop.
Multi-use items generally have a longer period of protection under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, however, don’t expect to be able to make an uncontested claim for that budget range crockery when it breaks and cuts your finger after two years.
When should I see a Solicitor?
Generally, you would contact MG Legal, your Personal Injury Solicitor in Preston, when you have sustained an injury. If you have simply purchased something that is broken or isn’t up to scratch, most shops will offer a refund, replacement, credit or a repair provided you have your receipt and getting a Solicitor to deal with that kind of problem is using the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut.
When it comes to Personal Injury Claims, where we are generally talking about money in the thousands of pounds and potentially more, it pays to have a personal injury Solicitor in your corner. There are various legal Protocols to comply with, expert evidence to be obtained and it is not uncommon for a shop to raise at least a token Defence to try and put you off. MG Legal’s team are well-versed in dealing with all aspects of this type of claim and in showing Defendants that we will not stop working for our client until we have exhaustively investigated and destroyed their Defence.
You can start your Claim for Personal Injury HERE, by completing our online form.
What should I keep as evidence?
Put simply, keep as much as you can. Ideally, your receipt, the item (if it is a food item freezing it is a good option as many shops often assume you will not do this) or at the very least a photograph of the defective item and of the injury. If necessary, or if in doubt, we always recommend that you seek medical attention to ensure there is no lasting damage, or to treat any more serious injuries.
How do I instruct MG Legal?
Get in touch with MG Legal, your Personal Injury Solicitor in Preston, by phone, email, web-contact form or at one of our offices in Longridge, Garstang or Lancaster.
We will put you in touch with one of our Specialist Personal Injury Team straight away. All accepted Personal Injury Claims are progressed under a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) to ensure that you have access to the representation you need. We will discuss your claim and look to have the ball rolling the same day.
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