ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Consumer Talk: Who is responsible if you injure yourself while shopping?

Who is responsible if you as a consumer, slip, fall and injure yourself at a supermarket?

Consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler says people slip and fall, injuring themselves, in public places and inside shops and shopping malls fairly often.

And she says thanks to American movies, most people assume that if you fall while on someone else’s property you can sue.

READ: Manufacturers need to spell it out if they shrink their products - Wendy Knowler

The reality is that the law requires a quid pro quo from property owners and the public.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

So property owners must take reasonable care to minimise or prevent harm to people passing through their premises and the general public must take reasonable care.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Yes there is insurance in place, she explains, but with most of these insurance policies negligence on the company's part has to be proved for the claim to be successful.

A successful slip and fall claim rests on whether the injured party can prove that his or her negligence did not exceed that of the property owner.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Do we have any legal precedents for slip and fall cases in this country?

Pippa Hudson, Talk Show Host

Yes, we have a few. One of them is Probst v Pick n Pay, a 20-year-old case… She fell in the supermarket as a result of an oil spill. The most dangerous oil spill.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

She says, in that case, the court held the view that a person who is walking in a supermarket and taking reasonable care for his own safety is not expected to notice an almost invisible hazard such as translucent oil on a pale coloured floor.

And that the accident must have been caused by a negligent failure of the defendants, or their servants or agents acting within the course and scope of their employment to perform their duty to take reasonable steps to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.

Take a listen to the conversation during the Consumer Talk feature:

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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