Last updated on November 11th, 2021
Most pubs and many shops have a cellar where they store surplus alcohol and other goods. The location of the cellar door/ trap door is often in the floor and combine this with the sometimes hectic activity in pubs and shops when the cellar hatch is open it has the potential for serious accidents and injuries. Most cellar fall accidents could have been avoided just by taking proper precautions.
Whether you are a customer or a worker in a pub or shop, you may have a legal right to file a compensation claim if you are injured after falling down an open cellar.
How Cellar Fall Accident Claims Can Be Avoided
Pub workers and shop staff routinely visit the cellar to restock. When the cellar door is open it can pose a risk to staff members and potentially customers walking past the area especially if it’s a particularly busy time. It is not unknown for staff members to have fallen straight through the open cellar trap door resulting in serious injuries when the accident could and should have been avoided.
Owners and managers of all public places, including pubs and shops, have a legal duty of care towards their customers and employees. As part of this duty of care, they are required to put in place effective strategies to protect their customers and employees from all potential risks within the premises. An open cellar door is a recognised risk and as such they are required to take proper precautionary measures to prevent any cellar accidents. If it can be proven that an injury from a cellar fall was caused by negligence it’s highly likely a cellar accident claim for compensation would be successful.
Precautionary Measures To Prevent Cellar Fall Accidents
As injuries from cellar falls have the potential to be extremely serious it is important that health and safety guidelines are followed. These guidelines help to prevent injuries from happening in the first place that could otherwise lead to shop owners and pub landlords being sued for a cellar fall. Some of these precautions might include:
- Making sure the area is well lit when the cellar door is open so that the opening is easily visible;
- Cordoning off the area so that nobody can fall through the cellar trap door by accident;
- Putting up a large, easily visible warning sign;
- Keeping an employee situated in the area to warn anybody straying too close to the opening.
In the absence of any of the above, the chances of a cellar fall accident increases dramatically
What To Do After A Cellar Fall Accident
Getting urgent medical attention should of course be your immediate priority. This is even if you do not have any visible injuries or if you cannot feel any pain. Anyone falling through a cellar hatch would be lucky to escape with only minor injuries. In most cases it is a steep drop down to the cellar floor and a fall is more likely to result in severe injuries ranging from broken bones and spinal injuries to concussion injuries. It could be that you have internal injuries or that you cannot feel the pain because of the adrenalin rush that can follow such incidents.
Things you can do to strengthen a cellar fall accident claim are to get photographs clearly showing the open cellar door and the surrounding area. If you cannot get the photographs yourself, ask somebody else to do it for you. Also get photographs of your injuries.
Did anybody around you witness the cellar accident? If they did, get their names and contact details so you can get a statement from them if needed be to support your claim.
What Compensation Could You Claim For Injuries From A Cellar Fall Accident?
The exact amount of compensation you can claim for will depend on how badly you were injured in the cellar fall and the expenses you incur that are directly related to the cellar accident. In general, after any no-fault accident, you can claim compensation for the following:
- Total medical expenses incurred: You can claim for everything that you pay towards your treatment for the injuries resulting from the fall. You should be reimbursed for the doctor’s or hospital’s charges, cost of all recommended medical tests, prescribed medication, surgery if you needed to have any.
- Potential long term rehabilitation expenses: If your injuries require you to undergo long term treatment such as physiotherapy or other corrective treatments, a personal injury solicitor will calculate the potential cost and add that to your cellar fall accident claim.
- All traveling expenses associated with the cellar fall: The cost of traveling to and from the hospital for ongoing treatment can add up to a substantial sum. Whether you travel by bus, taxi or your own vehicle, you should get reimbursed for the cost of traveling.
- Loss of amenity: You can claim compensation under loss of amenity if your injuries prevent you from participating in the activities that you enjoyed prior to the accident.
- Loss of income and work-related perks: If your wages were deducted or you lost out on promotional avenues or other bonuses or perks because your injuries forced you to stay home from work, all of those losses should be compensated for.
- General damages: In addition to actual expenses, you can also claim for other tangible and intangible damages resulting from the accident, such as pain, suffering, and mental trauma. Use our compensation calculator below for a better idea of what compensation can be paid for differing injuries.
Filing A Cellar Fall Accident Claim
Your first step towards filing a cellar fall accident claim should be to get in touch with a personal injury solicitor for expert advice. Winning a cellar fall accident claim without professional help can be exceedingly difficult because of the many complexities inherent in the justice system. Even if the evidence is overwhelming and you do win the case, chances are you will not get the full compensation that is due to you. One of the many advantages of having legal representation, is that your solicitor will make sure that you get the maximum amount that is due to you.
Most personal injury solicitors offer a free first consultation so you should take advantage of this to get valuable advice on how to proceed with your claim. If you have a strong case, you will also be able to take advantage of the No Win No Fee agreement that many personal injury solicitors offer. Under the terms of this agreement, the solicitor will help you navigate all the legal red tape and will file your case without asking you to pay any fees upfront or at any time during the proceedings. You only have to cover the legal fees if you win the case and are awarded compensation. The amount that you have to pay is what you agreed to at the time of signing the No Win No Fee agreement. Usually this is a percentage of the compensation awarded.
If you think you have a cellar fall accident claim and would like to find out more about claiming compensation please call us today.