Chicago Falling Store Merchandise Accident Attorney
Most of us have shopped at large warehouse stores with merchandise stacked up in towering store shelves that are sometimes high above the floor level.
This business model is convenient and cost-effective for large outlets because it eliminates the need for additional storage or another warehouse to maintain large quantities of merchandise.
However, when merchandise is inadequately secured, it poses a significant risk to the unsuspecting shoppers if, or when, boxes fall and hit customers below.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers fight insurance companies on behalf of our clients who require medical care after suffering injuries from falling merchandise on the sales floor.
Our falling store merchandise accidents lawyers have handled retail store premises liability lawsuits in the following localities throughout Illinois, including:
- Cook County
- DuPage County
- Lake County
- Will County
Our Chicago slip and fall lawyers handle personal injury law cases and protect the legal issues and rights of our clients when seeking compensation on their behalf.
The Store's Duty of Care to Protect Guests
Every business owner and retail outlet enterprise must take reasonable care to protect the public and shoppers visiting their establishment. This legal duty extends to store owners and property owners, including small retailers, large retail outlets, and big-box stores like Walmart.
To avoid being involved in premises liability cases, retail store owners must prevent workers from stacking heavy merchandise up high on the company's shelves. Instead, employees must stack merchandise to avoid any dangerous condition that could cause serious injury to the shoppers.
Prevalence of Falling Merchandise Injuries at Large Retailers & Warehouse Chain Stores
The United States federal government has yet to mandate a collection system for gathering information on dangerous conditions that lead to shopping mall accidents. Because of that, the exact number of falling merchandise injuries has not been documented, so the real number of personal injury claims remains unknown.
However, there have been many articles, T.V. news shows, and extensive litigation on this topic, lending some reasonable estimates on the prevalence of these accidents. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is familiar with the merchandising practices at such large stores like Costco, Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, and Walmart.
A white paper produced by the Roderick Retail Safety Institute in 2009, written by Dr. Larry Roderick, Ph.D., P.E., conservatively estimates 750,000 customer accidents each year in the United States. How many of these are from falling merchandise is challenging to determine.
Some big-box stores have taken safety measures to protect their customers by stopping the shelves after hours.
Injuries From Falling Merchandise Sustained by Customers
Many people have been crushed by large pallets or objects falling from the "sky shelving" inside some warehouse stores. Their injuries are not just caused by large or heavy objects but by the velocity as item falls.
Even a small object hurtling toward the sales floor can be dangerous. For example, an eight-pound bowling ball dropped four feet will have the "weight" of a 400 lb stationary object. Under these hazardous conditions, falling merchandise is likely to strike the head of the victim.
Various injuries can occur from wet floor fall accidents and falling merchandise:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones (see here)
- Crush injuries (look here)
- Fall Injuries
- Bruises or contusions
- Wrongful death
Responsibility of Stores to Protect Customers From Injuries From Falling Merchandise
Under premises liability law, retail store owners are duty-bound to provide a safe environment for their customers and employees. Any merchandise falling from the shelving can be considered a dangerous premise liability issue.
When a business is not correctly securing their merchandise, they are not protecting the consumer from possible injury. In most cases, the store owner, management, and employees will be found financially liable for injuries.
Many injured customers are entitled to receive a monetary award to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Falling Store Merchandise Accident FAQs
Can You sue a Store for Negligence?
Stores must protect all patrons, visitors, "invitees," and employees from injury and fix or barricade any hazardous area. Even so, patrons suffer serious injuries each day in retail stores due to unsafe conditions caused by negligence.
The term "invitees" referred to customers, patrons, visitors, wholesalers, truck drivers delivering merchandise, contractors, and any other individual conducting legitimate business. Any uninvited person or trespasser does not have the right to sue the company for compensation.
What to do if You Injured Yourself in a Store?
If you are the victim of falling store merchandise or slip and fall on the premises, you have legal rights to protect yourself. First, seek immediate medical attention to ensure that your well-being is your priority. Second, gather evidence and speak to eyewitnesses.
Next, notify the management of the store to file a report with the main office. Finally, seek an attorney specializing in falling store merchandise accidents to help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
What is the Test of Negligence?
Legally, testing for negligence in a premises liability case requires determining if the defendant had a duty to protect the "invitee." Second, did the defendant breached their duty by either acting negligently or failing to act to protect?
Third, the test must identify that the defendant's breach of his or her duty was proximate (near) and actual correlating to the plaintiff's harm. Finally, the test must prove that the plaintiff suffered actual harm.
What Happens in a Fall at a Store?
Store owners, the management, and employees must provide a safe environment for all patrons, visitors, contractors, wholesalers, and others inside and outside the premises. Employees must stock merchandise on overhead shelves safely to ensure products do not fall.
Indoor floors and outdoor sidewalks and parking lots must remain free of debris to provide safe access in and out of the establishment. If you were harmed in a fall at the store, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation for the store's negligence.
What are Negligent Acts?
The law defines negligence as a person or entity's failure to meet an established behavior that protects others from unacceptable risk. Tort liability laws are primarily built on the negligent actions of others and serve as the main claim to a personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage cases.
What are Some Examples of Negligence?
Examples of common negligence occurrences might involve a drunk driver running a stoplight and causing a fatality. Another example might be a retail establishment failing to barricade a wet floor after cleaning up a spilled liquid.
A third example might involve a landlord who did not replace broken stair-steps in a stairwell that collapsed and injured tenants, guests, or delivery workers.
Chicago Falling Merchandise Premises Liability Lawyers Representing Injured People
Were you or a family member injured, or have you have lost a loved one in a falling merchandise accident in Illinois? If so, you deserve full compensation through a favorable settlement or jury trial.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understands the impact an injury or wrongful death can have on a family. Our legal team will fight for your rights within the law. We have years of experience handling Illinois premises liability cases and will do everything necessary to obtain the best possible outcome in your personal injury case.
A successful resolution of your premises liability claim will include recovery of your medical costs and time away from work. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
No fee is ever charged unless we obtain a financial award for your fall case. All information you share with our premises liability attorneys remains confidential through our attorney-client relationship.
Please don't send sensitive information to our Chicago premises liability attorneys through voicemail, email, or text message concerning your accident case.