Elderly woman slaps Woolworths with hefty damages claim after trolley accident

2019-05-06 18:57
Woolworths (Supplied)

Woolworths (Supplied)

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An elderly Pretoria woman has slapped Woolworths with a R570 000 damages claim after injuring herself while navigating a speed bump with her trolley at the Kolonnade Shopping Centre, north of Pretoria.

The incident dates back to June 2010. Maria Conradie, 73, in suing the retailer, claims that as she was navigating the speed bump, the trolley fell over causing her to lose her balance, resulting in her falling to the ground.

In court papers filed with the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Conradie claims that Woolworths failed to "properly maintain its trolleys" because the trolley she used, allegedly had a "small front wheel missing".

"The defendant (Woolworths) failed to provide the necessary diligent attention to care and investigations to ensure that a shopping trolley with defects, as specifically present with this trolley, be removed from the premises and or properly repaired," the court papers read.

Conradie further accuses the retailer of not taking responsibility for the incident, saying Woolworths "failed to take responsibility and act with care" towards her and members of the public.

Woolworths however, has denied the allegations, saying at all times that their trolleys were properly maintained and kept in a proper working order and safe condition.

At the same time, the retailer says they use a third party – GP Retail Operations (Pty) Ltd - to source their trolleys and that the third party – and not Woolworths – should be liable for claims by Conradie.

The retailer "appointed a third party to carry out its duties in a workmanlike manner and to display the necessary due skill, diligence and care without causing harm to customers," Woolworths said in response. 

Further, the retailer says that trolleys provided are used by customers at their own risk and should be used in a responsible and prudent manner in order to prevent harm or injury.

The retailer adds that they cannot be held "vicariously liable for the negligence of the third party and or its employees which led to the incident". 

iOL reported that the case was not ready to go ahead this week and has been postponed indefinitely.

In a short statement on Tuesday, Kirsten Hewett, spokesperson for Woolworths said the safety of customers in the retailer's stores remained its "primary concern".

"We have been engaging with Mrs Conradie on this unfortunate incident since 2010 and appreciate the stress it has placed on her. We hope to reach a resolution with her soon."

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