B.C. woman awarded $755,000 after slipping on laundry detergent in Superstore

A neurologist said that the woman was disabled by the fall

A once “cheerful, bright, hard working and optimistic” North Vancouver woman was awarded more than $750,000 after she slipped and fell in “a large pool of laundry detergent” six years ago.

According to B.C. Supreme Court documents released Wednesday, Lori Lee Harrison was shopping at the North Vancouver Superstore on March 25, 2012, along with her son Chris and her aunt Irmgard.

After shopping for an hour-and-a-half, the trio went up to the till to pay for their items, when Harrison realized she forgot to purchase a present for her nephew’s birthday dinner that night.

The three shoppers went out to their car to unload the groceries before Harrison and her son returned to the store to purchase a Kinder Surprise chocolate treat and a card for her nephew.

As she walked to Aisle 1 to buy the chocolate, she stepped into a “large pool of liquid laundry detergent” and and began to slide towards “end cap” shelves at the end of the aisle.

Harrison said she stuck out her hands “in a manner akin to what one does when surfing” as she slid towards the end cap before hitting her left eyebrow on it.

The force of the impact pushed her backwards, and she recalled thinking that she was going to hit her head on the floor.

The next thing Harrison remembers is waking up on the floor near the end cap with a woman holding her hand, according to court documents.

She saw blood from the blow to her head on her hands, as well as the woman’s, and heard her son “screaming for an ambulance.”

Three Superstore employees, including the manager, came to help Harrison and mop up the six-foot-wide mix of blood and laundry detergent on the floor around her.

First responders arrived on scene and took her by ambulance to Lions Gate Hospital.

Two witnesses confirmed that Harrison had fallen near the end cap where the floor was covered in a “light, shiny, transparent liquid on the floor with bubbles on the edge of it,” and one testified that she had heard “a horrific thud” as Harrison fell, although she didn’t see the fall.

Harrison’s son testified that when he arrived at his mother’s side, she was lying in a pool of laundry detergent.

In his decision, Justice Jasvinder S. Basran wrote that the testimony of Harrison and the three witnesses seemed accurate and was enough to prove that Harrison had slipped on a large pool of liquid laundry detergent, hit her forehead on the end cap of Aisle 1, and subsequently fell backwards and hit the back left of her head on the floor.

Basran further wrote that although Loblaws, the owner of Superstore, had a policy of regularly inspecting floors and documenting them in a “sweep log,” the company was unable to produce a log for the grocery area where Harrison fell.

Harrison said she “felt woozy and had lost time” right after the accident. She didn’t remember the fall, parts of the ambulance ride and “reported blurry vision as well as significant pain” from the accident.

She’s had “persistent and ongoing headaches” as well as “dizziness, imbalance, nausea, difficulties with concentration and memory, insomnia, and fatigue” that make it difficult to use a computer or concentrate.

Regan Smith, a longtime friend, said Harrison no longer takes pride in her appearance, has gained more than 80 pounds and “is no longer the same person that she was before the accident.”

A neurologist found that Harrison “remains completely disabled due to the combined residual adverse effects of her injuries” from the fall.

Basran found that Harrison was “simply no longer able to work” and awarded her $755,549 in damages to be paid by Loblaws to cover loss of income, the care she will need and non-pecuniary damages.

He also ordered Loblaws to pay the province $6,671 in health-care recovery costs.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Earth Day planting supports wetland habitats

Earthwise invites locals to join project restoring delicate area

Letter: One Dump Truck Too Many!

There is something going on in our town (oh! I mean, just… Continue reading

Fraser Health patients to see 23% more knee, hip replacement surgeries

First-available surgeon approach will reduce waitlists, B.C. health minister says

Proper engagement needed for quarry development: expert

Impact on residents, species should be communicated, evaluated

Wildlife centre operator concerned about leg-hold traps

Elizabeth Melnick of Abbotsford says contraptions are injuring innocent animals

VIDEO: Harrison gets uncorked at wine festival

Locally prepared food was paired with a wide variety of wines at the Saturday fundraiser

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

UPDATE: 83-year-old convicted murderer back in custody

RCMP have captured Ralph Whitfield Morris who escaped from Mission Institution

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA

People are being discouraged from smashing windows to free animals. The SPCA has tips on what else you can do.

Municipal election loophole will be fixed, premier says

Union, corporate donations still allowed for slate party ‘operational’ needs

Most Read