Biggest Fashion Sale Of The Year! Shop 12 000 Up To 70% OFF!
Pretoria - Dischem retailers and one of its former employees in Hatfield are liable for the damages suffered by an elderly Alberton woman who fractured her hip when the worker bumped into her in the shop.
Martha Maria Laurence claimed R855 000 in damages from Dischem and from Charl Pretorius, who used to work there.
Pretoria High Court Judge Hennie de Vos, in ordering Dischem to pay the damages Laurence can prove she had suffered, said in his opinion any person who walked in a public shop should do it in such a manner as to not endanger others.
“This is even more so in the case of an employee of a self-service pharmacy to which members of the public has access.”
The judge said Laurence had proved she was injured due to the negligence of Pretorius, who was employed by the outlet at the time.
Laurence, 74, and her niece went shopping at Dischem in Hatfield on August 19, 2009.
Video footage showed the women entering the shop. Laurence was unscathed as she entered and walked around the aisles.
Laurence said she left her trolley in one of the aisles to look for tissue salts in another. She took the tissue salts from a shelf and turned around to walk back to her trolley.
Suddenly she saw Pretorius out of the corner of her eye. He walked rapidly in her direction, with paper in his hands.
Laurence said when she saw him for the first time, he was virtually “on” her. He bumped into her and she fell. Her niece was very upset and accused Pretorius of causing the elderly woman’s fall. She was taken to hospital where she was treated for a fractured hip.
Pretorius denied liability or that he even touched Laurence that day. He claimed she tried to reach for a bottle on one of the top shelves, became dizzy and fell by herself.
He earlier said he had walked down the aisle and saw an elderly woman fall. Laurence told him she did not know what happened, as she became dizzy and fell, he said.
The video footage only showed Laurence on the ground and a man with paper in his hands, helping her.
Pretorius testified in court that he was on duty that day as assistant manager.
According to his version in court, he felt his clothes making contact with something like a hip. It nearly felt like a blow. He turned around and saw a woman on the floor. He said her niece shouted at him “ you broke her hip, you broke her hip”.
Judge de Vos said this version differed from the one where Pretorius said he never touched her.
The elderly woman impressed him as an honest witness. He rejected Pretorius’s version and said he was not an honest witness.
The amount in damages to be awarded to Laurence will be determined later.