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A former teacher has secured £9,375 in compensation for injuries she suffered when she slipped on a patch of black ice while out shopping with her husband at the Marks & Spencer store in Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff.
After heavy snow, the store closed one of its car parks but customers were able to park in a second car park once the snow had been cleared to the sides. However, conditions remained icy and the woman slipped as she and her husband were walking towards the entrance of the store. She fell heavily, landing on her left arm.
She was taken to hospital, where doctors informed her that her wrist was broken in several places. The fractures required surgery to insert a plate and screws into her arm.
The woman's injuries took a long time to heal, during which time she was in great pain and was unable to carry out basic day-to-day tasks. She still has difficulty putting any weight on her left hand.
Initially, Marks & Spencer denied responsibility for the woman's accident. However, she persevered with her claim, arguing that the retailer failed to have in place a system to do all it could to prevent the risk of injury to shoppers in wintery conditions, and secured a compensation settlement of £9,375.
Retailers owe members of the public using their premises a duty of care, whether inside the store or in the parking area. Whilst the law recognises that it is not always possible to eliminate transient risks such as snow and ice, businesses must take all reasonably practicable steps to manage potential hazards of this kind, which includes having procedures in place so that staff members know what action to take to make the premises as safe as they can for customers to use.