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The vast majority of times you go to a shopping centre your visit will be uneventful. But occasionally, people trip or fall in a shopping centre and suffer an injury. Indeed, while a fall might seem innocuous, falls are actually the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide, with 37.3 million falls worldwide serious enough to require medical attention. 

In Australia in 2014-15, falls were the main cause of hospitalised injuries (41% of all injuries), while the rate of falls remains on the increase with over 100,000 people hospitalised for a fall in 2016-17. If you have tripped, slipped or fallen in a shopping centre and the fall was caused by negligence on the part of the shopping centre or a store owner, you may be able to claim public place injury compensation for your injury.

Falls in shopping centres can range from mild falls where you slip over on a spill or uneven surface and stumble, to serious falls where you can trip and fall hard on a limb or body part causing serious injury like broken bones or spinal damage.

We are going to discuss whether you are eligible to make a shopping centre fall compensation claim due to fall injuries, and how our compensation lawyers can help you go through this process. Contact our personal injury lawyers today for free initial advice on making your claim, and find out where you stand with your shopping centre fall compensation claim.

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Common shopping centre fall injuries

Some of the more common types of shopping centre fall accident injuries are as follows:

In many cases, the injuries suffered can be quite out of proportion to the fall sustained, in that even a minor fall can cause a serious injury if your body is off balance or if you fall onto a hard surface without warning. 

The organisation in control of a shopping centre has a duty of care to ensure that they have measures in place to keep visitors to the space safe. This includes things like appropriate warning signs, sufficient cleaning schedules to ensure that any spills are cleaned up promptly, and sufficient lighting to make sure visitors have safe passage through all spaces. 

If a shopping centre has breached their duty of care and you are injured as a result, you may be able to seek injury compensation.

Common causes of shopping centre falls

Some of the common causes of shopping centre falls are listed below. If your shopping centre injury had a different cause than the ones listed, you still have the option of getting legal advice.

  • Tripping on an uneven surface - shopping centres can sometimes have an uneven surface due to maintenance work, upgrades, cleaning, or simply due to the layout of a space. If you have tripped on an uneven surface that was not adequately signed or visible then you may have a claim for compensation.
  • Falling on a wet surface - whether a surface has been recently cleaned and is not signed properly, or if a patron has spilled a drink or food - you can fall on a wet or slippery surface and cause serious injury.
  • Falling due to improper signage - if there is a hazard the shopping centre organiser has a duty to ensure that visitors know about it. If a hazard is not properly signed and you slip or fall on it and sustain an injury, you may be able to seek compensation for any loss or damage suffered.
  • Tripping on an escalator or staircase - trips and falls on escalators and staircases can happen due to a stumble or when carrying large or bulky items and missing a step or misjudging a distance. Falls down or up stairs or escalators can result in serious injuries. 
  • Tripping over mats - it is common for shopping centres to use anti-fatigue and anti-slip mats as part of hazard protection for workers, but when these items are placed incorrectly or unsafely, they can cause a trip hazard.

If you have suffered an injury which was in any way caused by the negligence of a shopping centre - whether it was due to inadequate warning signs or spilled liquid on the floor - you may be able to seek injury compensation.

What to do after a shopping centre fall

What should I do

When you have been injured in a shopping centre fall you need to ensure you prioritise your health and well-being in the first instance. This section goes through some of the steps you can take both immediately after a shopping centre fall, and later on as you progress through your recovery and possible compensation claim.

Report the injury

The first thing you need to do when injured within a shopping centre is to report the injury to centre management or to the venue manager. 

The easiest way to do this is to attend centre information or speak to the premises security about contacting management. It is important that you lodge a written report on your injury, including information about how it happened, where it happened, what kind of signage or conditions were in place at the time of your injury and any other relevant information.

You should also ensure that CCTV footage of your injury is retained if possible and kept for the purposes of any future investigation into your injury.

Also, if you can:

  • Take your own photos of your injury and the injury location
  • Make a note of any circumstances surrounding your injury
  • Record a video of the injury scene, and any relevant detail such as spillages or uneven surfaces

In some cases your injury will be severe to the point of requiring an ambulance or immediate medical attention. In this case, a report will likely be prepared by centre management as a matter of protocol. If this happens, make sure you get a copy of the report as soon as you are able to.

Get medical attention

It is vital that you get medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity. In some cases, you will be seriously injured and will not report your injury until after you have been to a hospital or medical centre. 

Whatever happens, your health and wellbeing is the most important part of the procedure to follow after a shopping centre fall - so make sure you get the care you need as a matter of top priority.

  • Get a report on your injury and find out whether you will need to go through additional medical treatment, surgery, or rehabilitation
  • Contact the shopping centre and let them know of any progress or updates with your injury or treatment

It is vital that you get medical attention as soon as you are able so that you can begin the process of recovery and rehabilitation from your injury.

If you believe that the injury you have suffered was caused due to the negligence of the shopping centre operator, then you should seek legal advice from our no win no fee lawyers to find out where you stand. As an injured person who, through no fault of their own, has suffered physical damage you may be in a position to make an injury compensation claim. Our compensation lawyers can advise you on the merits of any possible claim and speak to you about how you can proceed with making a claim for compensation.

What’s included in a shopping centre fall claim?

Icon showing calculator and paper and pen with dollar symbol to show calculation of PTSD compensation claim

When you are injured in a shopping centre fall, there are certain losses that you can claim for, including the costs of your medical expenses associated with your injury and other associated financial losses such as lost income, lost Superannuation, pain and suffering, as well as any other reasonable costs. 

A claim for compensation can include:

  • Medical and hospital costs and bills, including physiotherapy, massage and any other reasonable costs associated with your injury
  • Loss of earnings — bearing in mind that any compensation for lost earnings is based on potential current and future loss, so if you were not working at the time of the accident (and had no plans to) the value of a claim will be limited to your medical and care needs, though that is not to say that it is not worth pursuing your claim.
  • Pain and suffering sustained as a result of your fall
  • Any help at home, whether you have paid for the in-home help or not

It is best to speak to our accident lawyers to find out whether you have a claim for compensation, and to get an estimate of what that claim might encompass.

Time limits for shopping centre fall claims

How long does claim take icon

When making a claim for compensation for physical injury there are certain periods of time which apply to limit the way in which you can claim. If you have suffered a physical injury you have (3) three years from the date the injury was suffered to commence your claim. 

However, there are certain other time limits which also can apply, depending on the circumstances of your claim. You can read more about time limits for personal injury claims in our guide, and then speak to our lawyers about public liability claims and how you can commence your claim against a negligent shopping centre.

Posted by Sarah Truter Solicitor

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Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
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