Receiving Compensation in a Falling Merchandise Accident
For decades, victims of falling merchandise in big-box stores, warehouse outlets and other establishments have filed thousands of claims. Today, many stores stack their shelves to the rafters with improperly placed items that can cause serious injury to shoppers if it falls. Often times, untrained employees create an unstable environment by haphazardly positioning unsecured merchandise high above the shopper’s head.
Not long ago, retail establishments safely stored their excess inventory in the back rooms of the store away from the customer’s view. However, the trend of providing an attractive atmosphere for shopping has given way to discount savings by shopping in a warehouse environment where large containers of heavy products have the potential of falling on unsuspecting customers. In many incidences, stacking merchandise high above the ground floor has generated considerable litigation because of the injuries caused by falling objects.
A Dangerous Environment
Walking into a store should never be a hazardous undertaking where your life is placed in jeopardy just for being there. Merchants, store owners and tenants are duty bound to keep all store aisles, shelves and passageways accessible to shoppers and customers. Shopkeepers are required to provide a safe condition and take every step possible to prevent the potential of injuries and fatalities in their store.
Unfortunately, many business owners fail in their obligation to provide a safe environment to their customers and employees. Their lack of responsibility has often led to serious injuries caused by the negligent actions of merchants and their employees. When someone is injured or killed in a falling merchandise accident, the merchant can be found liable.
Common Falling Merchandise Claims in Chicago
There are common elements that exist in many falling merchandise accident claims that include:
- Stacking merchandise higher than eye level
- Stacking items above the customers head without using physical restraints to minimize the potential of products falling
- Dangerously stacked merchandise without proper signage or warning that a hazard exists
- Merchandise dropped by an employee when it is placed or taken off a high shelf
- Stacking various size products together where heavier merchandise is placed above lighter items
- Fallen merchandise that lands on the customer when trying to remove it from a high shelf
- Stacking heavy merchandise on inappropriate shelving unable to support excessive weight
Merchants are expected to understand the dangers involved in stacking merchandise too high. With a little foresight, guidance, rules and supervision, the common elements involved in a fallen merchandise accident are relatively simple to prevent. It is the obligation of storekeepers to train every employee properly and post warning signs in conspicuous areas alerting customers of the potential of falling merchandise.
In addition, many of these accidents involving falling items could be avoided by simply blocking the aisle way any time stocking the shelves is in progress. When the merchant takes no action to safeguard or warn consumers and creates an unsafe environment, they could and should be held liable.
Fallen Merchandise Injuries
Items falling from a high location can cause serious and life-threatening injuries that include:
- Head injury and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Concussions and contusions
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Strains and sprains
- Wrongful death
Claims against a merchant involving fallen merchandise can be complex and difficult to prove in Illinois. In many incidences, the merchant will assert a defense claiming it was the customer’s actions that caused the injury. By hiring a skilled personal injury attorney, you can seek an amount of compensation that can last a lifetime.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you, or someone in your family, have suffered serious injuries from falling merchandise, it is essential to seek legal assistance. You might be entitled to receive financial compensation for your pain, injuries and suffering. Having an attorney on your side can stop any action by the merchant that would blame you for causing the accident.
It is essential that you hold the merchant legally accountable for your injury. By filing a claim, you can receive adequate recompense to cover your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages and any loss of future earnings due to the accident. Contact the skilled attorneys at Chicago Injury Center today. They provide a free initial consultation and can answer any legal question you might have.