Falling merchandise accidents in large chain stores and megastores are not uncommon. ABC News reports: “Injuries, and even deaths, from falling merchandise are becoming increasingly common, with thousands of people hurt or killed while shopping since giant warehouse stores began popping up throughout suburban America in the late 1980s and early ’90s.”
Retail stores in Washington have a legal responsibility to take reasonable and necessary safety precautions so that harm doesn’t befall their customers. When poor practices lead to an accident, such as sloppy merchandise stacking, and a customer is injured as a result, the company can be held liable for the victim’s resulting damages.
Common Elements in Falling Merchandise Accidents
Our attorneys at Deno Millikan Law Firm, PLLC in Washington have been helping injured victims seek recovery after accidents of all kinds. We have handled several lawsuits in which our clients suffered serious, life-changing injuries as a result of store merchandise falling on them. Below are a few of the elements that are common in cases such as these.
- A lot of warehouse workers and stocking personnel do not know or do not take the time to stack items properly. For example, they may put larger boxes on top of smaller boxes or put heavy objects on top of light boxes.
- In a lot of large department stores, merchandise is stacked exceptionally high — far above eye level.
- The stacked merchandise usually has no restraints to hold it in place, and a lot of the shelving has no grip.
- Store workers have inadequate training about the proper handling of materials and how to stack/retrieve merchandise without posing harm to customers.
Filing a Claim against the Store
If you or your loved one were injured in a falling merchandise accident, you’ll definitely want to speak to an injury attorney about filing a suit against the store. Be forewarned — the store is likely going to fight back; the store’s attorneys will likely try to apportion the blame to you, rather than the store owner.
One of the most common ways stores try to defend themselves is by saying that it was the customer’s actions that caused the merchandise to fall. For instance, the store may claim the customer reached for another item, jarred the shelf and caused the item to fall. In most cases, personal injury attorneys can overcome this defense by saying that customer actions such as these are foreseeable, and therefore should have been taken into consideration so that accidents could have been preempted.
When our attorneys represent victims in falling merchandise accident lawsuits, we make sure that we are fully prepared for any excuses the defendant may devise. We also thoroughly develop the case so that we can relay to the court the magnitude of the hazards that were present (e.g., a 5-pound box falling a few feet significantly multiplies its weight) and the resulting injuries the victims sustained.
Letting Deno Millikan Law Firm Fight for You
Falling merchandise can cause serious, debilitating injuries. For instance, a man was struck by 20 pounds of falling merchandise in Wal-Mart. It struck him in the head, and he has since suffered with headaches and disorientation. He was a commercial deep-sea diver and lost his livelihood because of it. He sued and won more than $350,000. [Real v. Wal-Mart Stores]
In another case, an elderly woman was crushed to death by falling lumber in Home Depot. It fell on her after a 19-year-old forklift driver knocked it over. Her daughter commented in an ABC News report: “My mom is gone and nothing will bring her back. But I am outraged at the conditions and that they continue to be sloppy when they would be so easily enforced.”
If you or your loved one suffered injuries as a result of falling merchandise, we encourage you to call our office today. Let us help you pursue the restitution and justice you deserve. Contact us today at 425-259-2222.