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Insights

Slips, trips and falls are not uncommon in our shopping centres. So what are some of the factors that the court considers when you’ve been injured as a result of the shopping centre’s negligence?

In the recent Supreme Court of New South Wales case of Raad v KTP Holdings Pty Ltd as Trustee for VM & KTP Nguyen Family Trust [2016], it was held that the owner was negligent in failing to apply an anti-slip product to the tiles at the shopping centre entrance where a man slipped, fell and injured himself.

In 2011, Mr Raad entered the Busby Shopping Village from the car park into the tiled main entrance area. It was raining when he had arrived, so Mr Raad had run in from the car park. After taking a few steps on the wet tiled area, he slipped and fell resulting in a fracture to his spine at the T3 and T5 levels. Mr Raad claimed that the injuries were permanent and would affect him for the rest of his life.

Mr Raad then commenced proceedings against the occupier of the shopping centre. He alleged that the owner had breached their duty of care by failing to warn of the risk of the wet tiles and failing to apply a non-slip surface to them.

The occupier rejected his arguments by alleging that the risk of harm was foreseeable, and so insignificant that there was no need for warnings as they saw it as an ‘obvious risk’. They also argued that Mr Raad had contributed to the accident by failing to wear proper shoes, and knowing it was raining – failing to walk at a pace that suited the wet conditions.

His Honour Davies J noted that the occupier did owe its patrons a duty of reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of injury. The foreseeable risk in this case was the risk that Mr Raad would slip on the wet tiles, sustaining an injury.  There was no evidence that an anti-slip product had been applied to the tiles prior to the incident. On that basis, the occupier was found to have breached their duty in failing to ensure that the tiles were treated with an anti-slip product, with this failure resulting in a surface which contributed to Mr Raad’s fall. The Judge did not find a breach for failure to warn of the danger of slipping.

His Honour awarded damages in favour of Mr Raad in the sum of $83,941, reduced by 10% on account of contributory negligence owing to the fact that Mr Raad’s walking pace may have contributed to the fall.

This article was written by the Kells Personal Injury Team.