If you’ve slipped over at a supermarket or shopping centre and sustained an injury, your ability to be successful in a compensation claim can depend on one single element: when did the spillage occur?
In Queensland, the standard for cleaning rotations of publicly used spaces such as shopping centres is 15-20 minutes. This standard was set in 2012 by the High Court case of Strong v Woolworths Limited (trading as Big W).
In Strong, the incident area had not been inspected for several hours when the plaintiff slipped and injured themself. The High Court found that Woolworths had therefore breached their duty of care for failing to have an adequate cleaning system in place.
The court also said that a system of cleaning and inspection within a 15-20 minute rotation would have been sufficient and could have prevented the incident occurring. Accordingly, shopping centres and cleaning companies alike are usually aware of the decision and endeavour to inspect (and clean if necessary) all areas of public places in 15-20 minute rotations.
The learning from this case is that if the spillage occurred less than 20 minutes prior to your fall (and had not yet been inspected by cleaning staff), your chances of being successful in a public liability claim for personal injuries are reduced dramatically.
If you have slipped over at a public place, the first step in determining whether you have a winning claim is to review any CCTV footage to identify whether or not a cleaner had inspected the area, and what time the spillage occurred.
Shopping centres may be reluctant or unwilling to provide security footage to you directly, so if you require assistance obtaining the CCTV, contact us at Roche Legal for assistance.