If you've unfortunately slipped and fell in shopping malls, restaurants or other premises as the floor was slippery or greasy, or tripped over by objects, and suffer an injury as a result, you may claim damages (compensation) against the occupier of the premises.
As most of the injured and their families had never experienced an accident in the past, nor had they any experience in litigation or instructing a lawyer, many may have certain misunderstanding about the claim procedure. Some may even be misled by unlawful recovery agents posing as claims adjuster. As a result, some may have unwittingly waived or lost their right to claim by reason of such misunderstandings.
According to current Hong Kong law, namely, the Occupiers Liability Ordinance and the law on negligence under common law, the occupiers of the premises shall owe a duty of care to all visitors and take reasonable care to ensure all visitors are reasonably safe inside the premises. Occupiers shall also be aware that children, elderly and the disabled are less cautious than adults.
The burden of proof rests on the injured (the claimant). On the balance of probabilities, he or she must prove that the slip and fall accident is caused by the negligence of or breach of duty of care on the part of the occupier.
If you or your family member have been a victim in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, you should do the follows:
- Collect evidence at the scene, for example, taking photographs, obtaining the contact information of witnesses, under a safe condition;
- As some symptoms may not appear immediately, the injured should visit a doctor to receive treatment and diagnosis ASAP;
- Seek advice from and meet with a solicitor (lawyer) to learn about the claims procedure, and to obtain medical reports and police documents via the solicitors;
- Instruct a Solicitor to write a pre-action letter (demand letter) to the occupier of the premises (e.g. management company of the shopping mall, the company which owns the Chinese restaurant or restaurant) to demand compensation
- If the occupier is willing to accept the liability, your Solicitor will conduct one or multiple rounds of negotiation on compensation (quantum) with the occupier
- If the negligent occupier denies liability or no settlement is reached on the amount of compensation, you, the injured, may wish to file a claim in the District Court or the High Court via your Solicitor.
A woman slipped and fell in the lift lobby of a shopping mall in Kowloon Bay and was injured. She received 34 sessions of physiotherapy treatments and multiple sessions of psychological treatments. After trial, the Court held that the shopping mall was liable and awarded compensation in the sum of HK$323,665.2.
Other commonly seen claims
- Work Injuries Claims (Under Employees' Compensation Ordinance or otherwise)
- Traffic Accident Claims
- Medical Negligence Claims
- Scalding by hot oil in a restaurant etc.