Contributory Negligence In Slip And Fall Cases Essay


Disuss about the Whether Tamara would be lawfully accountable to get damages for the act of negligence on the part supermarket or not?



Whenever there has been a failure in order to exercise the standard of care which an individual as a prudent individual should have exercised in certain situations then it amounts to the act of negligence.[1]

In the case of Blyth v. Birmingham Water Works Co.[2] negligence has been defined as the exclusion to do something which a sensible individual would have done, or do something which a sensible or rational person would not do.

The act of negligence was previously established from the act of trespass but the modern law of negligence could be said to have been established with the case of Donoghue v Stevenson[3].

Similarly, in order to prove the act of negligence the tribunal would observe on to some points for the establishment of the suit.[4] As in an action for negligence which was initiated by the plaintiff, in order to claim against the defendant he must prove some basic elements like:

The Defendant owed a lawful obligation of care towards the plaintiff;

The act of the defendant in the situations did not meet the standard of care which a sensible individual would meet in certain situations i.e. there was a violation of such duty;

That the applicant has suffered some sort of damage or injury which a rational individual in the situations could have been anticipated to anticipate i.e. there was some injury which was caused;

That the harm was caused by the violation of duty which was owed by the defendant towards the plaintiff i.e. causation.[5]

It was in the case of Donoghue v. Stevenson[6] that it was concluded that the duty to care has been extended to the neighbor and the individuals who were so closely affected by their act.[7]

But in order to prove the allegations of the plaintiff wrong, a defense of Contributory Negligence could be taken by the defendant against the plaintiff for such actions.[8] Because, it has been defined as the Common law rule which states that an individual who by his own act of negligence have contributed to the injury. As for such injury his protests could not be entertained in regard to an action which was made against another individual in respect of it.[9]

In such cases such individual would be considered in law to be the person behind of his wrong.

It was in Butterfield v. Forrester[10] that it was held that the plaintiff could not claim damages as he was also negligent on his part and he didn’t take reasonable care which he should have taken being in the place of a prudent individual.

So, it could be observed that if an applicant has failed to take rational amount of care for his own safety or injury then he would be found contributory negligent fir his own harm. As a result of such act the computation of expenses which a person could affirm would be decreased as per the degree that they were found to have been donated to such an injury.[11]

For instance: if a slip or fall occur as a result of the slighted failure of a person to keep a sentinel for their own safety where they could prudently have been predictable to do so then both the people would be contributorily negligent.

In Fitzsimmons v Coles Supermarkets[12] it was evidently observed that the plaintiff was 50 % contributory neglectful for desertion to pay attention to the ‘wet floor’ signs which were situated around the pond of water on which the applicant slipped. It was also concluded that he has to bore 50 % of the lawful conscientiousness as its signs were unreliable falsely & external to the standard area of plan of the consumers and failed to position a worker around the fall to give an opinion to the customers.[13]

Similarly in the matter of Jackson v McDonald’s Australia Ltd[14], the tribunal concluded that the plaintiff was held 70 % contributory negligent when he slipped after going by a perceptibly wet floor where clear sign board was posted. Whereas, the defendant was held 30 % liable for the lawful responsibility for its collapse to wash up the waste from the floor.[15]

In another matter of Hunter v Anderson[16], it was observed by the tribunal that the landlord was 25% liable for reimbursement as it was the ultimate responsibility of the landlord to make sure that the staircase was cleared appropriately.


In the present case, it could be stated that the day on which Tamara walked down the confectionary passageway of her restricted Aldi Supermarket was the wet Saturday morning. So, it was very well known by her that she might get slipped as she was wet but she ran as she saw that there was only one last chocolate left in the store.

As a result of getting that chocolate she ran faster believing that if she would walk then she might not be able to get that last portion of the chocolate which was left. But, she did not saw the ice cream and slipped over the floor due to the ice cream and also because she was all wet as a result of which she got severe injury in her back.

When Tamara made a claim against the store for negligence then the defendant affirmed that they could depict that one of their staff was appointed by the supermarket who investigates the supermarket passageway and cleans up any wastes every 40 minutes.


Therefore, it has been advised to Tamara that this case would be a case of contributory negligence which has been proved by the matters which were stated previously as the supermarket was triumphant in proving that they made all attempts and taken all safeguards which a rational individual would have taken in order to avert any injury.

And it was also stated by the defendant that if it was the fault of the store then it was also the fault of Tamara that she did not take reasonable care which she would have taken being a prudent individual So, this case would be concluded to be of contributory negligence as the safety measure which was taken by the workers of the supermarket has been proved. As a result of which it could be advised to Tamara that whatsoever happened was due to the mistake of both the parties and not wholly on the part of the respondent.


  • Articles/Books/Reports

Paul Latimer, Australian Business Law 2012 (CCH Australia Limited, 31st ed, 2012)

  • Cases

Blyth v. Birmingham Water Works Co. (1856) LR 11 Exch. 781.

Butterfield v. Forrester (1809) 11 East 60.

Donoghue v Stevenson 1932 AC 562.

Fitzsimmons v Coles Supermarkets [2013] NSWCA 273.

Hunter v Anderson 2010 BCSC 1037.

Jackson v McDonald’s Australia Ltd [2014] NSWCA 162.

  • Legislations
  • Other

Bannermans, Contributory Negligence In "Slip And Fall" Cases - No Control Over The Plaintiff's Own Action Or Inaction?, < >

David Cormack, Slip & Fall: Macca’s Breach But Failed On Causation, <

E-lawresources, Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562, <

FindLaw, Contributory and Comparative Negligence,<

Legal Aid, Negligence, <

Legal Services Commission of South Australia, Negligence, <

Legal Services Commission of South Australia, What is negligence?, <

Tim Bugg, Negligence and damages – personal injury, property damage and pure economic loss, < >

Legal Services Commission of South Australia, Negligence, < LR 11 Exch. 781.1932 AC 562.

Legal Aid, Negligence, <

Legal Services Commission of South Australia, What is negligence?, < AC 562.

Tim Bugg, Negligence and damages – personal injury, property damage and pure economic loss, < >

FindLaw, Contributory and Comparative Negligence,<

E-lawresources, Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562, <

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