Injuries From Falling Objects in Retail Stores
Written By: Attorney Cole Gumm
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Would you visit a retail store if you knew you were going to be injured by a falling object? Obviously, the answer is, "No!" Unfortunately, customers can suffer serious injuries, or sometimes even death, when they are struck by falling items while shopping. Also, these injuries happen more often than you might think. Some of the most common injuries that occur in these types of cases include:
Whenever an individual is injured at no fault of their own by a falling object at a retail store, they must seek competent and experienced counsel. Zinda Law Group represents clients nationwide in cases involving falling merchandise in retail stores. We offer 100% free consultations, and you will never owe us anything if we are unable to win your case.
UNDERSTANDING THE LAW
Generally, objects falling in retail stores are the result of the merchandise being improperly stocked, stocked too high, or stocked in locations where it is not intended to be placed. Often, this happens because the retailer has few, if any, policies regarding the stocking of its shelves. Other times, it may be that the retailer has failed to implement training procedures for its employees. Depending on the situation, you may be able to hold the retailer responsible for the falling objects.
There are several types of claims that can result when a falling object strikes you at a retail store:
If an employee causes an object to fall and hit you while he or she is stocking a shelf, you may have a negligence claim. For example, this could occur when the retailer's employee is stocking a high shelf on a ladder and accidentally drops the merchandise, resulting in injuries to you.
If a retail store hires an employee that it knows, or should know, is unqualified to stock its shelves safely, you may have a negligent hiring claim. Negligent hiring may occur when a retailer, short on staff, hires someone it knows will not be able to safely stock heavy merchandise. A negligent hiring claim may exist if that employee later injures you because of his or her inability to stock the heavy merchandise safely.
If a retail store fails to implement training on how to safely stock the store or implements inadequate training, you may have a negligent training claim. Negligent training may occur when a retailer instructs a new employee to stock heavy merchandise on a high shelf without any preparation. You potentially may bring a negligent training claim when the new employee improperly stocks the heavy merchandise because he or she was never trained, and it falls and hurts someone.
If a retail store chooses to continue hiring an employee despite the employee not being fit for the job, you may have a negligent retention claim. For example, this may occur when one employee has improperly stocked shelves in the past on multiple occasions and has resulted in injured customers. If the retail store continues to employ that individual, and you are later injured because he or she improperly stocked a shelf, you may have a negligent retention claim.
If a retail store provides little-to-no supervision over its employees, you may have a negligent supervision claim. Negligent supervision could occur when a new employee carelessly stocks shelves in a rush, and no manager supervises his or her work.
If a retail store knows or should know of a dangerous condition (including dangerously stocked merchandise) on its property, you may have a premises liability claim. When this occurs, a retailer has a duty to warn you about the dangerous condition or make the condition safe. This may occur if the retail store knows that merchandise is at risk of falling from a high shelf but fails to put up signs or safely stock the merchandise, and it ultimately falls and injures you.
Employers, such as retail stores, are vicariously liable for their employees' actions when they are in the course and scope of their employment. This means that, for each of the claims outlined above, you potentially can bring a claim directly against the retail store.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE INJURED BY A FALLING OBJECT IN A RETAIL STORE
Oftentimes when you are injured at a retail store, the employees and managers of the store will try to minimize the store's responsibility or the significance of your injuries. To protect yourself in the event you may later need to bring a claim against the retailer, here are some tips.
1. Document, Document, Document
Evidence and witnesses often go missing immediately after an injury-producing event. It is vital that you obtain as much information as you can.
- If you (or someone with you) are able, take pictures of the object that hit you, where it was located before it fell, and where it landed.
- Write down the names and job position for any employees that come to assist you.
- Speak with other customers who may have witnessed the event, and take down their contact information.
- Ask employees if they witnessed the object falling or why they believe the object fell. Once a claim is started, employees often fall silent.
- Request that the store creates an incident report to document what happened.
- Request copies of any witness statements or incident report that the store creates.
- Request copies of any video of the incident, or try to obtain written confirmation that video will not be tampered or deleted.
- Request the name and contact information for the retail store’s insurance carrier.
2. Seek Medical Attention
It is important that you seek immediate medical attention for any injuries you suffered because of the falling object. It is also essential that you follow your doctor's advice regarding your treatment.
3. Do Not Speak to Store Representatives
Frequently, retailers or their insurance carriers will attempt to contact you before an attorney represents you. Do not speak to them! Remember that anything you say will be used against you to minimize the store's responsibility.
4. Contact Zinda Law Group
Once you leave the store, it is important you hire an experienced and competent law firm immediately. Contact Zinda Law Group to speak to an experienced injury lawyer for free. In your free consultation, your attorney may walk through the accident with you and determine the best course of action.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
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At Zinda Law Group, our experienced personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
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