Supermarkets owe a duty of care to their visitors and they must ensure that members of the public are kept safe whilst shopping within their premises. The Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 imposes these duties on the owners and occupiers of retail properties. If they fail, they will be held responsible for the injuries caused to the visitors. This also includes keeping the supermarket car parks safe and maintained in good condition.
It is true that a large number of supermarket accidents take place in outdoor areas. When the supermarkets are open for extended hours, many customers prefer doing their shopping late. At this time, there is hardly any natural light and this increases the risk of slips, trips and falls. It is the responsibility of supermarkets to ensure that their parking areas are adequately lit.
Supermarket car park accidents are also caused due to poorly maintained surfaces as well as obstacles such as broken drain covers, potholes, damage tarmac and uneven or raised surfaces. Spilled products, rubbish, product pallets, debris and packaging materials pose significant risks of slips, trips and falls.
Apart from these, there are also dangers of collision. Visitors to the supermarket can also get hit by cars as well as pallet trucks and trolleys. They can be hit by signs falling from above, especially during adverse weather conditions such as high winds. Keeping the parking areas free from snow and ice during the winter season can be challenging, but supermarkets must do all that is reasonably practicable to reduce the risks of dangers posed by adverse weather conditions.
Supermarket car parks must be inspected on a regular basis and risk assessments must be carried out to identify potential dangers before they result in accidents and injuries. Car park hazards must be addressed promptly by the supermarket staff. If there are potholes and broken ground surfaces, they must be repaired as soon as possible. If the supermarket fails to keep car parks safe and risk free, they will be liable for accidents taking place in their car parks. This means that if a visitor has sustained injuries in a supermarket car park, he may be able to make a claim.
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