Many businesses invest considerable time and effort to ensure the safety of their customers. In the event that an accident does occur, what you do immediately afterwards is critical to achieving a positive and timely outcome for everyone involved. In this three-part series, Risksmart will highlight three key steps businesses can take to be ready to respond effectively to an incident. In this article, we examine the importance of closed -circuit television (CCTV) footage in the event of a personal injury claim.
Step 2: CCTV Footage
As with Incident Reports, CCTV footage forms a crucial piece of a business’ defence of personal injury claims, especially those involving a slip and fall incident on a liquid substance. If adequate CCTV footage is captured, it can help reveal what occurred before, during and after the incident. This can be especially valuable in situations where the claimant’s version of events is contested.
Why is CCTV Footage important?
The importance of CCTV footage was demonstrated in the recent matter of Kalache v Secureclean Pty Ltd (No 2)  NSWDC 717. The claimant sought significant damages from the defendant, a contracted cleaner, and alleged that:
“As she walked within a common area (of Stockland Wetherill Park Shopping Mall) she slipped on a liquid substance, causing her to fall.”
When questioned at the hearing, the claimant was unable to definitively confirm that she slipped on liquid substance. Rather, the claimant and her daughter stated that there was a spill on the floor, as the claimant’s trousers had a ‘wet patch’ when she attended hospital after the incident.
When assessing the liability of the defendant, the District Court considered CCTV footage of the incident along with other evidence. From their review of the CCTV footage, the Court highlighted:
- in the 36 minutes prior to the incident, 384 people walked over the incident area and did not react to any contaminant on the floor; and
- two security guards and a cleaner also inspected the area after the incident. Their body language indicated that they could not find a spill anywhere near where the claimant fell.
The District Court ultimately found in favour of the defendant and was not persuaded that there was a liquid substance on the floor as contended by the claimant.
 Such as the Incident Report and the claimant’s medical records.
This case demonstrates that CCTV footage has immense forensic value for businesses when defending claims and managing risks generally.
Key considerations to help protect your business:
- Train staff to review CCTV footage as soon as they are notified of an incident – even if it is a near miss or the person’s injuries are minor in nature.
- Staff should then retain CCTV footage both 1 hour before the incident and 1 hour after the incident. As demonstrated in the case above, the events before and after the incident are just as crucial as the incident itself which caused the injuries.
- Store copies of the CCTV footage in a safe location for at least 7 years.
- Implement quarterly reviews of the CCTV footage systems to ensure that they are operating correctly.
- Consider regular servicing and upgrading of CCTV systems if they are outdated. Is the CCTV footage of a poor quality, blurry or only capturing a limited area (rendering the evidence obsolete)?
A final note
Feel free to contact Risksmart today to discuss how our claims management solutions can be tailored to your business.
National Technical Claims Manager