Huge claim after woman's mishap with Woolworths trolley
Maria Conradie, 73, of Kilnerpark, said she was on her way to her car in June 2013 with her cart of shopping when she had to negotiate a speed bump. She battled to push the trolley over the hump and lost her footing.
She fell with a “terrible crash” to the ground. The trolley overturned and fell on the right side of her body.
Conradie said she spent about two weeks in hospital, having broken her right arm and shoulder. She also had to receive a hip operation.
She said in papers before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that she had lost the full use of her right arm and shoulder and had unsightly scars.
Conradie further said she was now permanently limping.
She blamed Woolworths for her ill fortune, stating that the company should see to it that its trolleys were in a decent working order before allowing the public to use them.
Conradie claimed the front wheel of the trolley was defective and that was the reason it had overturned.
According to her, Woolworths knew that the public used its trolleys and thus had a legal duty to ensure that nobody got hurt due to a broken trolley.
She said she was still in pain from her injuries and was permanently scarred.
Woolworths denied liability and blamed her for the accident, saying the trolley probably overturned because it was overloaded with her packages.
It said it in any event had no knowledge of the incident and did not owe the public an absolute duty of care as claimed by Conradie.
According to the retailer, it provides trolleys for the use of its consumers at their own risk. These trolleys, however, should be used in a reasonable manner to prevent injury.
It said the trolleys should not be abused, but used for the purpose for which they were designed - to carry a reasonable amount of shopping.
Woolworths said it used the services of another company to maintain and clean the trolleys.
It was this company’s duty to ensure that at least 95% of all the trolleys on a site were in operation at all times. This included that it had to ensure that all the wheels were functioning.
Thus, Woolworths said, it could not be held responsible for Conradie's injuries.
The case was not ready to go ahead this week and has been postponed indefinitely.