Following an accident, the supermarket Sainsbury’s has permanently banned one mobility scooter user from entering any of its 1,200 UK stores. But are they overreacting?
The accident was severe enough to warrant paramedics being called. Albert Carter (the 80-year-old mobility scooter user) had paid for his shopping at the customer service kiosk and, when turning his scooter to leave, mistakenly drove into a woman standing near to him. In his panic, Carter then drove the scooter into the kiosk.
However, it is also worth noting that this is the only accident Carter has ever been involved in while riding his mobility scooter. As such, while the incident was quite grievous and distressing for everyone involved, it seems unreasonable inflict a lifetime ban on Albert Carter.
But was Sainsbury’s harsh response really about Albert Carter himself, or was the company afraid of legal action?
It’s entirely possible for those injured in supermarkets by mobility scooters to sue the supermarket: In December of last year, a woman named Eileen Hayes was knocked over by a mobility scooter while shopping in Asda. Her leg was broken in the incident and she is now suing Asda. In all likelihood, Sainsbury’s is simply concerned about the possibility that they would face legal action themselves if Carter were to have another accident within one of their stores.
However, is it really fair to force vulnerable mobility scooter drivers to deal with the consequences of Britain’s litigious culture? While some drivers are genuinely careless, most who are involved in accidents are, like Carter, simply the victims of bad luck.