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Shopper claims R1.1m for sugar slip

| Wine and liquor

A Pretoria West supermarket chain faces a hefty R1.1 million damages claim from a shopper who slipped and fell on spilled brown sugar on the floor of the store.

The Hercules woman suffered head and back injuries.

Hercules Spar agreed to settle the matter regarding the merits of the case, without acknowledging any wrongdoing on its part.

Marie-Antoinette de Lange, 46, claimed the damages against Elatora Supermarket CC, trading as Hercules Spar. The high court in Pretoria will later determine how much damages she should be awarded.

De Lange said she went shopping on August 20, 2011, when she slipped on the brown sugar on the floor.

She suffered a general head injury, a spinal injury and she lost the sensation in her right foot. She also suffered bruises, as well as psychological shock and trauma.

She blamed the incident on the negligence of the supermarket, saying it had a duty to ensure that members of the public were safe when walking between the aisles.

According to her, the supermarket should have ensured that its staff immediately cleaned all spilled sugar so that it did not pose a danger to shoppers.

De Lange said she had to receive treatment and will have to undergo further medical treatment.

An engineer was asked to examine the floor surface of the shop and to give an opinion on whether sugar on the floor could be potentially dangerous to customers.

According to the expert research done into slip-accidents it proved that there was an increased slip potential with certain contaminants on all surfaces, especially in the case of particles with a larger size, such as salt and sand.

He said studies had proved that slipping on sugar frequently occurred.

This is especially as the granules will break down into smaller particles which would further increase the slip potential on a smooth floor surface, such as in this shop.

The expert said sugar is in fact listed in most of the literature on the subject as one of the main dry contaminants in cases where slips occur.

According to the expert, floor surfaces in supermarkets should be monitored and cleaned at all times.

Pretoria News

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