Public Liability Change: Supreme Court overturns Supermarket decisionPublished on Posted on
Please note that this post was written for Victorian audiences and the information within may not apply to other regions.
Claiming public liability compensation for injuries sustained after a slip in your local supermarket is now wide open.
Last year the ACT Supreme Court in Buljat v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd  ACTSC 47 ruled against a customer who sustained injuries after slipping on grape in a Public Liability case. The Court held that although there was evidence that the floor had not been cleaned for six and half hours. It was enough for employees to keep a proper lookout and simply clean as they go. This decision trickled down to defendants and insurers who relied on this decision. It was used as a basis for denying claims and reducing the amount of compensation offered to injured claimants.
However, this decision was appealed. The ACT Court of Appeal handed down an early Christmas present for all of those who have been injured in supermarkets and shopping centres. Buljat v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd  ACTCA 7 overturned the previous decision and held that a reasonable person in Coles’ position would have done more to try and prevent slipping hazards. The Court held that there ought to have been at least some system which required staff to specifically identify and eliminate hazards.
Result of the Decision
As a result, the Plaintiff was awarded compensation. In the process this has helped highlight the duty owed by stores to their customers. It is not enough to have a system in place. The system needs to be adequate and there must be some evidence as to its effectiveness to protect customers.
Navigating the public liability process can be a daunting and confusing process with an ever-evolving landscape. It is important for your lawyer to stay up to date with these changes to maximize your entitlements. At Zaparas we have a dedicated public liability team to help those who have been injured.
If you are interested in exploring your entitlements, contact Zaparas Lawyers for a free consultation with a lawyer on 8527 0200.
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