Local woman sues supermarket over painful slip

| 28/05/2013

images_46.jpg(CNS): A West Bay woman has filed a law suit against Foster’s Supermarket after she slipped in a pool of water by a freezer inside the store and damaged her back. Jann Smith claims that she is now unable to walk and suffers debilitating pain as a result of the back injury she has sustained and is asking the courts to award her medical costs, loss of earnings, legal fees and compensation. In what could turn out to be an expensive suit for Foster’s should the local store lose, Smith claims that the supermarket was negligent as the floor was particularly dangerous when wet and there were no signs alerting shoppers to the pool of water that had accumulated by the freezer.

According to the suit filed in the Cayman Islands Grand Court on 10 May by Hampson and Company on behalf of Smith, at around 9:30 in the morning on 13 May 2010 she was shopping for groceries at the supermarket and walking in a careful manner when suddenly and without warning she slipped in a pool of water and/or ice on the floor in front of a freezer containing bags of ice, falling backwards and landing heavily on her lower back and buttocks, injuring her low back.

“The presence of water and/or ice on the floor represented an unusual danger to the Plaintiff of which she was unaware and a breach of the Defendant's duty of care to ensure that the Supermarket and its operation and activities, were reasonably safe,”  the suit claims, pointing to a failure by Fosters to maintain the floor of its supermarket in a dry and reasonably safe condition for shoppers. Among other issues, the suit claims Foster's had used flooring which it ought to have known was slippery or hazardous when wet and provided no warning of the spill.

At the time of the injury Smith was taken to hospital and was treated at the emergency department and has regularly re-attended for further treatment over the last two years.

Smith states that she has undergone extensive investigation and treatment of her injuries including x-rays of her spine and an MRI and a number of epidural injections and more recently facet joint injections, all of which has provided only temporary relief for her pain.
She states that she now suffers from chronic pain in her lower back radiating into both legs; headache, neck, chest and knee pain; numbness and tingling in her toes; and limited tolerance for standing, walking or sitting.

The suit states that Smith is unable to walk any distance without pain, but equally sitting for any period of time brings on low back pain, and she has to get up and move around every 15-20 minutes, as advised in the Pain Management Programme. Her sleep is interfered with by the pain and she uses pillows at night to try to ease the stress on her lower back and to get comfortable.  A doctor stated on behalf of Smith’s claim that her pain and injuries, which are now chronic, are a direct result of the slip.

Her pain has prevented her from working, the claim states, not least because Smith was employed as a caregiver, which includes heavy lifting, bending and working in confined spaces, the suit states, before asking the judge to award $250,000 in loss of earnings, medical and legal costs and compensation.

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  1. St Peter says:

    When I was a little boy – many, many, many, years ago, my Raleigh bike hit a pothole and I skinned up my knees. The scars are there to this day – I am thinking of suing someone – should I sue the government, the local business that sold me the bike, or the bike manufacturer?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was only one of several qualified Caymanians who was overlooked for a job as a Loss Prevention Manager at FFF in favor of a foreigner on a work permit several years ago.  While no one can be in all places at the same time there are steps to minimizing such accidents.  Non-slip flooring and or warning signage and regular checks of areas such as freezers and coolers where water may leak and or accumulate would have been a good start.  I hope it was worthit for them!

    • Anonymous says:

      and if they check the coolers for leaks, I wish they would also check their products and move the ones that are several days, if not a week plus past the expiration date instead of trying to pond them off for full price. So annoying!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you want added bitterness with your hindsight?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Shoppers, we would like to warn you about a spill we don't yet know about. 

  4. Anonymous says:

     Obviously someone had taken a bag of ice from the freezer and some had spilled. She should be sueing that person for not cleaning up their mess if anyone, not Fosters. USA mentality here we come! What happened to being responsible for your own actions? I usually look where I am going especially in a grocery store where items can be knocked of the shelves at any time! Sorry that she hurt her self but that's life!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hope this is a genuine case and not someone's idea to "get rich" quick. Yes, there are people who feel like suddenly coming into $250,000, they are rich. 

    I would never like to see Cayman turn into the greedy, money-hungry society that America is. In that place, they sue you for everything!

    I understand if a person is injured due to someone's else's negligence and they have extraordinary medical bills, loss of earnings etc then by all means they have a right to sue for assistance in those things but when people exaggerate their injuries and try to milk it for everything they can, that is just wrong. 

    I am not saying this is the situation in this case, I am saying I hope it isn't. 

    If Fosters is at fault then I suggest they take fair warning and ensure proper signage and clean up spills quickly because if this suit is successful, you might have people "slipping and falling" quite regularly in your store. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    What does ‘ walking in a careful manner’ mean?
    What does ‘suddenly and without warning she slipped in a pool of water and!or ice’ mean?
    As the cooment above, compensation culture here we come.
    Hope the lady is not in pain. Otherwisee from the quotes, what a load of hogwash!
    Why walking in a careful manner?
    Guess there had to be a siren to warn of water on floor that one could not see when walking carefully in a supermarket…??

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree if she was "walking in a careful manner" does this mean she walked through the water in a careful manner?????  Don't we all just walk

  7. Adult fiction says:

    If Cayman were the States that 250,000 would be 2,500,000.. minimum.

  8. Anonymous says:

    CAyman islands are certainly lacking safety measures in many areas involving general public. The olympic swimmer whodrowned during the swim is another demonstration of lack (or nonexistence) of safety policies. These tragic events should not have happened. I support this person in her claim and hope it brings awareness. I also wish her a full recovery.

    • Anonymous says:

      How exactly was the safety procedures at the sea swim lacking or nonexistant?

    • Anonymous says:

      i fell down once …i want my 250,000   NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t say I agree with you comment about the sea swim. Many, many safety policies are the policy and they are in place at every swim I have been a part of. Your statement is irresponsible, uninformed, and borders on libel.

  9. Rorschach says:

    Wow..if only the had a Loss Prevention officer who KNOWS how to spot  and prevent these kind of things BEFORE they result in a lawsuit…just because you hire a "security officer" doesn't mean they are going to be able to actually protect your assets..

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a Loss Prevention Manager. Look on the website. The problem is information isn’t passed on accurately to everyone that works there so they are unable to inform the customers.

      • Rorschach says:

        If they have a LP Manager and he/she hasn't trained ALL employees what to look for and what steps to take to make sure these incidents don't happen, then they are not doing their job, Plain and Simple.

  10. Anonymous says:

    compensation culture….here it comes….. and we will all end up paying for it…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Only those found skimping and cutting corners will pay, as they should.

  11. Anonymous says:

    One always is suspicious of the strength of suits filed the day before the expiry of the limitation period.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is that?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because people with good claims never wait that long.  Nothing against this claim, but 90% of cases I have seen issued right before the expiry of limitation have been extremely weak.