A grandmother has launched legal action against supermarket giant Asda after she was left with a broken hip when she was hit by an ‘out-of-control’ mobility scooter.
Eileen Hayes, 82, was sent sprawling in agony after she was mowed down by the vehicle as she made her way into the store.
The grandmother-of-nine, who had recently recovered from a knee replacement operation, was given pain killers by a first responder as she was left incapacitated on the store floor for an hour until an ambulance arrived.
Following the crash on 19th December 2012 she was taken to Royal Derby Hospital and diagnosed with fractures to her left leg and needing a partial hip replacement.
The previously active pensioner was kept in hospital for almost a month and needed to undergo extensive rehabilitation, including physiotherapy and was left with a significant limp.
Mrs Hayes, from Spondon, Derby, said: “The whole ordeal has been very traumatic for me. I had only just walked into the supermarket when I felt a sudden pain shoot through my left side
“I knew straight away I had suffered some severe injuries but I had no idea how serious it was. The mobility scooter had come out of nowhere and sent me crashing to the ground.
“I didn’t even see it coming due to the speed it was going so I had no chance to get out of the way or prepare myself for the impact.
“The Asda staff were wonderful and kept me and my daughter Viv calm while they called an ambulance. It was terribly cold though as I was by the front door and it was December. I also had to wait an hour for the ambulance – it was all very upsetting.
“To add insult to injury when my daughter spoke to Asda they told her I should have got out of the way – I’m a pensioner who had just had a knee operation. I had no chance of avoiding it.”
Mrs Hayes is calling for tighter controls, testing and better training for people using mobility scooters in public places, particularly in supermarkets. Under current legislation anyone over the age of 14 can use the vehicles - which can reach speeds of 8mph.
Mrs Hayes said: “I appreciate how important mobility scooters are for the independence of people who find it difficult to get around and I certainly would not want them banned.
“However it seems that just about anyone is allowed to jump into a mobility scooter and dash around a busy supermarket without any supervisor or adequate training and that needs to change.
“I find it totally incomprehensible that Asda can seemingly loan out these mobility scooters without conducting any checks on the competence of the people that will be using them.
“This was a busy store at Christmas time filled with families and young children and I dread to think what could have happened had a toddler been hit by a vehicle like this as it would have been head height.”
Eileen has now instructed law firm Slater and Gordon to launch a civil claim against Asda Stores Limited.
Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyer Rob Jones, representing Mrs Hayes, said: “What should have been a routine trip to the supermarket has had devastating consequences.
“Mrs Hayes was a spry and active lady but because of the serious injuries she has suffered she is now left to deal with significant pain and has lost her independence.
“Mobility scooters can pose a very serious threat to the safety of others if the drivers are not fully trained in how to handle them safely.
“It is important that all companies which supply people with these vehicles provide adequate training and testing to ensure other people are not left counting the cost of unsafe driving.”
Rob Jones is a Personal Injury Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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