Falling Merchandise

Personal Injury Lawyer

Falling merchandise can result in severe personal injuries or wrongful death. You should know your legal rights if you are injured as a result of falling merchandise or equipment while shopping.

Liability arises from falling merchandise when the merchandise is caused to fall by the actions of an employee of the store owner or if merchandise is stacked in a dangerous way which is known or should be known to the store owner. These cases are called premises liability cases in the law. Premises liability attaches when the premises owner knew or should have known about a hazard on their property or their employees created the hazard. Sometimes it is difficult to prove constructive notice. This occurs because in addition to the store owner’s employees, other customers are present who may manipulate merchandise and create a dangerous situation that the store owner does not know about.

Many stores, especially big-box stores like Home Depot, Lowes Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco and many grocery stores, use moffets, forklifts or tow motors to stock inventory. Store workers are trained to eliminate traffic in rows where active stocking is occurring. However, heavy pieces of machinery used for stocking can cause merchandise to be pushed off of the other side of the shelf and fall on a customer’s head. Likewise, specialty displays can pose hazards when typical stocking practices are ignored.

Falling merchandise has the potential to cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, vertigo, nystagmus, shoulder injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, paralysis and orthopedic fractures.

If you or a loved one is injured due to falling merchandise, there are several steps that you should follow to protect yourself. First, be sure to report the incident to store management. Second, it is important to seek medical attention immediately in order to document the onset of symptoms. Third, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that the injury attorney can obtain a copy of the incident report and evaluate the accident site. Next, if the injury was witnessed by anyone else, obtain the eyewitness’ name and phone number. Take photographs of the accident and nearby shelving with your cell phone. This evidence can be critical in the future. Take more photographs than you think are necessary, since you may not realize immediately what the cause of the accident was.

A case arising out of personal injuries due to falling merchandise can be challenging to prove. A personal injury lawyer may need an expert to assess the safety of the store’s stocking practices. If you have questions about a case contact a medical mistake lawyer, like the attorneys at Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., to have your questions answered and see if you have a case.