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Personal Injury

Discussions relating to Personal Injury Law

Personal Injury

Postby Riccardo » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:06 am

Hi Patricia, I am a first year law student and am wondering if you could give any insight on this question. It was given out as an example type of question we may receive in our exam on friday.

Sarah was dining at the Fish Cafe with her friend Chris when she slipped on the highly polished floor and broke her leg. She was rushed to hospital where she was treated and given drugs to relieve the pain. As a result of the accident Sarah was off work for 4 months, and she incurred many medical and physiotherapy expenses. She became addicted to pain killers, which have cost a lot of money and have threatened her future carrer prospects

(1) What legal action is available to Sarah against either the proprietor of the cafe, the cleaner or the floor polish manufacturer?

(2) Would the situation be different if Sarah suffered her injury after breaking into the cafe with the intention of commitiing theft and arson?

Thank you in advance for your help. Any help is appreciated
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Personal Injury

Postby StevenBauer » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:21 pm

The owner of a premises open to the public has a duty at common law and under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to ensure that the public is safe when using the premises. The owner of the café should have made sure that the wet floor was cordoned off and a sign put up to warn members of the public of the potential danger.

If the occupier knows, or ought to know, of a danger on his or her premises, and he or she knows or suspects that people might come near that danger and the risk is one against which he or she might reasonably be expected to offer protection, then there is liability. Check out http://www.lawinabox.net/lbnewswire33h.html for a discussion about trespassers and the duty owed under the 1984 Act.  Discuss foreseeability that there might be a trespasser.  

Also against the cafe owner - negligence in hiring an incompetent cleaner; negligence in purchasing inappropriate floor polish. . . .

Against the cleaner - that would be a claim in negligence - duty of care, foreseeability.

Against the floor polish manufacturer, a claim in negligence - due of care, foreseeability, and Product Liability Act.

Damages:  she can probably claim for all the damages claimed including the drug dependancy problem - you take your claimant as you find them - But, as a trespasser, she may fact having her compensation reduced because by being where she should not have been, it was partly her own fault. Contributory negligence.  

The claim should be brought against the cafe owner - if appropriate, he would then join the cleaner and/or the polish manufacturer into the claim as co-defendants, and the claimant could then sue them as well.  If her cases against the co-defendants failed, she has some protection as to costs, because it was the cafe owner who joined them to the suit.

[In practical terms, the cafe owner has primary responsibility - it is his cafe - if he hires a cleaner, then he is expected to hire a competent cleaner - if he buys the polish, then he is expected to purchase polish that is not expected to be slippy enough for people to fall and injure themselves.  You could take this on and on - why not sue the fitter of the floor, or the manufacturer of the floor?]

I bet this is just enough to get you into trouble!!!   Luck
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