The New South Wales Court of Appeal has ordered Coles Supermarkets to pay damages of nearly half a million dollars to a lady who was recovering from cancer when she was hit and injured by a trolley whilst shopping in one of its stores. The lady, 48 at the time, was struck by a trolley being manoeuvred by an employee of Coles. She was struck on the right side, in the hip area, and pushed over onto her left side. The lady saw a general practitioner in the shopping centre later that day.

The lady's lower back continues to be a problem. She said it seemed to be more uncomfortable when her right hip was also aggravated. The lady found housework very difficult because of her hip.

In finding Coles negligent the Judge said, “There can be little doubt that the employee pushing the large trolley should have taken care not to collide with a customer such as the plaintiff...an occupier has a duty to a lawful entrant to "take reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of injury to the person concerned". I am satisfied that the risk of harm to the plaintiff was foreseeable and the risk was not insignificant. I am further satisfied that a reasonable person in the defendant's position would have taken precautions against the risk.”

The Judge awarded damages as follows:

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An article taken from the first edition of e-Precedents