A woman who shattered her arms after tripping over a supermarket trolley as she reached for a pork pie, has been awarded £44,000, it was reported today.
The 79-year-old called out to her husband that she had found the pies as she stepped forward to reach them, but then fell over a low, unattended, flatbed trolley. The injuries to the elderly lady’s shoulders and arms were that severe, she had to spend three months in hospital.
The long term damage to the lady has left her disabled, with one arm shorter than the other and it was over two years before she could carry out even the most basic domestic tasks.
Yesterday, Appeal Court judges awarded the traumatised pensioner, who still has to take pain killers, £44,000 damages, ruling that the trolley, which had been left in the centre of an aisle when the stacker went off to help another customer, was dangerous.
The ruling threatens to cost retailers millions, as Lord Justice Moses said that low-slung, L-shaped, flatbed trolleys – of the type ever-present in other supermarkets and DIY stores – pose a foreseeable risk of serious injury to shoppers.
The judge ruled the supermarket 80 per cent liable for the devastating accident and despite the company’s protestations that similar trollies are a common sight at stores across the country, the judge added: ‘The mere fact that this type of trolley is in widespread use throughout the industry does not mean that it is safe.” He also said it would be “’absurd’ to expect members of staff to be posted beside the trolleys at all times to warn members of the public of the tripping hazard.”
The supermarket was ruled to have created ‘a foreseeable risk of injury’ and subsequently had to bear the lion’s share of responsibility for the accident.
The chain not only has to pay the damages to the pensioner, but the enormous legal costs of the case too, which have been estimated at close to £200,000.
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