Can you Claim Compensation for Slipping on a Wet Floor?
The last thing you expect to happen when you’re visiting a public space or building is to slip on a wet floor and get injured. But it’s a common occurrence, and when it does happen, the resulting injuries can be serious. If you’ve slipped on a wet floor and been injured and you’ve had any time off work or treatment expenses, it’s important to understand how much compensation you can claim, and how to make sure you receive your full entitlements. In NSW, compensation for slipping on a wet floor can quite easily run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it makes sense to find out how much you can claim.
Injuries from a slip on a wet floor commonly happen in places like:
- Restaurants, hotels and cafes – where spillages often occur
- Supermarkets and shopping centres – which are prone to spillages and dropped food items
- Cruise ships and airlines – on board, as well as in terminal buildings
- Florists – where there is often water on the floor from flowers
- Office buildings – where wet umbrellas or raincoats can result in slippery wet floors
Your rights if you’ve slipped on a wet floor.
Most public buildings are covered by public liability insurance that pays compensation to visitors who are injured, if the building management is at fault for the accident. Some businesses on the other hand opt not to have public liability insurance, and run public liability claims themselves in house, so they essentially became a self-insurer. Either way, if you’ve slipped on a wet floor and suffered any financial losses, then if you can show that the building management failed in their duty of care to keep you safe, you can claim compensation from the business or their public liability insurer.
You need to make your claim for compensation within three years from the date you were injured (six years if you’re disabled or if the injured person is a minor). If you weren’t aware of your injury at the time of your accident, the three-year window may begin from the date you became aware of your injury.
For more detailed information on compensation, you might also like to read our Guide to Public Liability Compensation Claims.
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Slip on a wet floor compensation – can I claim?
In Australia, people responsible for public places aren’t automatically liable for wet floor injuries. If you’ve slipped on a wet floor and been injured, you can claim compensation if these requirements are met:
- The people responsible for the public place or premises knew (or should have known) about the wet floor.
- Your slip and fall accident could have been avoided if the people responsible had taken steps to eliminate the slip hazard.
- You’ve incurred losses as a result of your wet floor accident, such as time off work, treatment and medical bills.
In other words, you need to prove that the people responsible for the public place were negligent and that this negligence caused your injury. You must also incur financial losses to be eligible to claim.
Here are four questions you can ask yourself to work out whether you can claim compensation if you’ve slipped on a wet floor:
- Was the accident the result of environmental conditions (e.g. poor lighting)?
- Was the accident caused by a failure to carry out adequate maintenance?
- Were you at fault, either in part or in full, for your accident?
- Did the hazard exist for long enough that it could have been discovered and fixed within a reasonable time?
With so much to consider, it can be hard to work out whether you’ve got a strong case on your own. However, a public liability lawyer who has experience in claiming compensation for slipping on a wet floor will be able to assess your case and tell you whether you’ve got a claim that’s worth pursuing.
Common injuries caused by slipping on a wet floor.
People who slip and fall on a wet floor may sustain nothing more than minor bruising. However, some falls can result in serious injuries, ongoing pain and even the need for surgery.
Some examples of common injuries from a slip on a wet floor include:
- Head injuries and concussion
- Cuts and lacerations caused by falling on objects
- Fractures and broken bones, especially to wrists, hands, knees, and ankles
- Bodily bruising and soft tissue damage
These are just a few examples of the more common wet floor injuries. But even if you don’t think your injury is serious, if you slip on a wet floor you should get yourself assessed by a doctor, as injuries can worsen over time. And if you find you’re eligible for compensation, you’ll need medical evidence to back up your claim.
How much compensation could I get?
Wet floor injury compensation payouts in NSW often run into the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars range. Even relatively minor injuries can lead to fairly substantial compensation if they require significant time off work or treatment expenses. For more information, read our slip, trip and fall injury claims guide.
The value of your claim and the amount of compensation you’re entitled to depend on more than just negligence. Other factors include the severity of your injuries, the extent of your losses such as medical expenses, whether you were partly at fault for your accident, and the skill and experience of your lawyer. You may also be able to claim for future losses if you’re unable to work.
Read how a former small business owner in Sydney is looking forward to the next chapter of his life after he was awarded $540,000 for slipping on a wet floor in a shopping centre.
To maximise your chances of being awarded compensation, it’s important that you talk to an experienced wet floor injury lawyer who can assess your situation and tell you how much compensation you might be able to claim.
For free legal advice or to find out how much you can claim, contact a slip and fall specialist on 13 15 15.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law and spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, with the best part of 20 years’ experience in assisting injured Australians receive everything they’re entitled to.
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