Supermarket ordered to pay £33k after child almost loses eye after horror fall

A family has been awarded AUD$60,000 (£33,400) after a six-year-old girl almost lost her eye in a gruesome injury.

Cecilia Chan, six, had been shopping with her grandmother in a supermarket in Sydney, Australia, in January 2020 when the terrifying accident occurred.

Attempting to reach to grab an item of clothing, the youngster lost her balance when her face landed on an exposed hook on a rack which ripped open her eyelid.

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Speaking to NSW District Court, the girl's mother said: "[She] wanted to get a pink T-shirt and she reached up to get it off the hook. Her grandma was right next to her looking at the sizes.

"It was so sudden. It all happened in less than a second. [She] wasn't running around or doing anything silly. No matter how careful her grandma was, she could not have prevented it."

Cecilia was forced to undergo surgery to save her eyelid and has subsequently suffered with significant trauma and scarring which has led her parents to suing Kmart for negligence.

Some of the her muscles and nerves have been left damaged with the psychological impact of the accident just as damaging as she struggles to sleep alone and is now scared of attending school.

"[She] was very afraid and scared of facing her school teachers and classmates because she thinks she looks horrible,” her mother told the court.

While lawyers for Kmart admitted that a breach of its duty of care to its customers, they attempted to blame a stomach issue for the problems the girl has suffered post-accident.

Despite their claim, the court disagreed, as Judge Robert Montgomery ordered Kmart to pay the family AUD$60,000 plus court costs.

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Her mother expressed her anger that the store's racks had not been changed after the accident, as she visited the very same Kmart recently.

She said: "I was angry because it was all the same. The hooks and the display are still there, there were no signs. If they don't make changes then [she] will not be the only one injured."

Kmart responded to the mother's claim as a spokesperson for the supermarket chain said: "Following the incident, Kmart rolled out rubber caps to be placed on top of all hang rail arms across our stores and these are regularly maintained to try and ensure no similar incidents occur again.

"Kmart accepts the Court’s judgement in this case and extends our best wishes to [the little girl] and her family."


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