Public Liability

Slipped over in a Shopping Centre? Read about the most recent law.

By LHD Lawyers

LHD Lawyers has been involved in one of the leading cases in public liability law. The matter of Strong v Woolworths is presently before the High Court to determine the law relating to circumstances where someone slips over in a public place such as a shopping centre.

In 2004 Mrs Strong was an amputee who was walking through the Centro Shopping Centre at Taree with the use of crutches. She walked through a corridor created by BIG W (owned by Woolworths) which contained plants on it. Being a keen gardener, this took her interest. Sadly, she suffered injury when one of her crutches landed on a chip which had not been cleaned up and she fell sustaining significant injuries. LHD brought a case for her in the District Court which found that Woolworths, did not have a cleaning system for that area and found them liable to pay damages.

Woolworths appealed to the Court of Appeal, which is the highest Court in New South Wales, who determined that because Mrs Strong could not prove how long the chip had been on the floor she could not prove that Woolworths had done anything wrong. The Court also said it was not enough that Mrs Strong had proven that Woolworths did not have a cleaning system in place. To read the decision of the court of appeal see:

LHD appealed to the High Court, the highest Court in the Country, in August 2011. LHD alleged that although no one knew how long the chip had been on the floor, the Court could infer that the chip was not cleaned up in what should have been the last rotation for the cleaning of the area.

Presently the Court has not decided the case and we are awaiting the decision.

It will have a serious outcome on whether injured people will be able to prove a case in the future.

Mrs Strong was interviewed on Today Tonight regarding her injuries.

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