Strong v Woolworths: LHD Win Landmark Woolworths Compensation Case
On 7th March 2012 the High Court delivered the eagerly awaited Judgment in the matter of Strong v Woolworths.
The Court found in favour of Mrs Strong and reinstating her original award for damages. This was a great result and one which Mrs Strong has waited a long time for.
The Court of Appeal who found against Mrs Strong and which was the subject of the appeal had previously determined:
A) It was important for Mrs Strong to establish how long the chip had been on the floor, and
B) Because it was a chip and Mrs Strong fell at lunch time it was more likely that it had been dropped recently as chips are eaten at lunchtime, and
C) For these reasons Mrs Strong could not prove that a reasonable cleaning system would not have picked up the chip.
The High court determined that it was wrong for the Court of Appeal to assume that because it was a chip it was dropped at lunchtime and that it was not crucial to the case that Mrs Strong could not prove how long the chip had been on the floor. The Court decided that it was more likely that the chip would have been dropped from 8am, the time when the shops had opened rather than in the shorter period of lunchtime.
It is an important decision as the law until this case required that in circumstances where someone slips on a substance on the floor unless they could prove how long the substance was on the floor then they could not win the case. This meant that if there was no video other evidence showing the substance for a period of time a plaintiff could not win.
This decision means that even if you cannot establish how long the substance is on the floor that does not prevent you from bringing a claim as other factors can be taken into account. It will require a Court to consider the whole facts surrounding the incident.