Injuries from Tripping Over Store Merchandise, Corrals or Barricades
When a business welcomes customers onto its property, there is a duty to keep those customers reasonably safe. Any unreasonable conditions which lead to a customer tripping over store merchandise or barricades can lead to a personal injury claim against the store. Whether the accident occurs in a nationwide chain such as Target or Wal-Mart, a home improvement store such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, a grocery store chain or an independent retailer, the store is required to adhere to reasonable safety standards and protect their customers from harm. Slip and fall injuries can happen for a variety of reasons, such as slick floors, poor lighting, or items placed in the pathway of customers. Consider some of the more recent personal injury suits against retailers due to hazards in the stores:
- A California jury awarded a plaintiff $400,000 in 2012, after the woman slipped on liquid soap in a Costco store, shattering her kneecap. According to the complaint, several employees of Costco had passed by the spill, ignoring it.
- A woman sued Home Depot in 2011, after slipping on an unknown substance. Although Home Depot claimed the relevant part of the video surveillance tape had been deleted, a jury awarded the woman $44,300.
- In a Florida Lowe’s, an employee driving a forklift ran into a man standing in the checkout line. The man suffered a variety of injuries, and was awarded $600,000 in damages.
Liability for Unsafe Conditions
If you suffered a serious accident in a store which resulted from tripping over store merchandise or barricades, the store may be legally responsible for your injuries. You may have tripped over merchandise, pallets, carts, promotional materials or other objects carelessly left in your path. Your attorney, on your behalf, will present evidence that the owner of the store or employees of the store knew, or should reasonably have known of the hazardous condition. In other words, the hazardous condition must have been present long enough for someone in the store to become aware of its presence and have a reasonable opportunity to move the hazard and prevent an accident.
You may also need to show that the owner or employees of the store knew, or should have known, that merchandise left in aisles or other places where it became a tripping hazard was common, and failed to have a system in place to deal with the hazard. In some cases, you may be required to show that the condition was not obvious—otherwise the question of why you did not take steps to avoid the unsafe condition will be asked.
As an example, if you tripped over a very large display which was in your pathway—and clearly visible—and the use of such displays was common in the store, then you may not be able to hold the store accountable for your injuries. Customers are required to exercise reasonable caution in protecting themselves, therefore the question becomes whether a reasonable, careful customer, would have noticed the unsafe condition and avoided it, under the same circumstances.
What to Do if You are Injured from Tripping Over Merchandise or Barricades
If you suffer an injury from tripping over merchandise or barricades in a store, it is important that you follow these steps to achieve insure that you have a legal right to recover damages. If you are unable to get up after your fall, ask the person nearest to you to call 911 and the manager of the store. It is important that the manager see the scene of your accident exactly as it was when you fell, not later after the hazard(s) have been removed or cleaned up. If you are able, take photographs of the scene, or if someone is with you, have them take photographs. The additional steps below will help your Mississippi personal injury attorney build a solid case on your behalf.
- Most grocery stores and other retailers require managers to document any accident which occurs in the form of an accident report which includes the date and time of the accident, the apparent cause and the customer’s contact information. Ask the store manager for a copy of that accident report.
- Even if you think you are “fine,” seek medical attention. In some cases, the adrenaline rush you get when you are involved in an accident can mask serious symptoms of your injuries.
- If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and addresses.
- Ask whether the store has surveillance cameras. If so, your attorney can subpoena the portion of the video which included your accident. It is important to do this quickly before the video is “mysteriously” erased.
- Ask the store manager for the name of the store’s insurance company.
- Keep all your medical records, medical expense receipts and bills and proof of your lost wages neatly organized for your Mississippi personal injury attorney.
- Contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can make the difference between a fair settlement and an unfair settlement.
Legal Help for Your Injuries
If you have suffered injury from tripping over store merchandise, corrals or barricades, it could be time to speak to a knowledgeable Southaven personal injury attorney. It is particularly important during the crucial days following your accident, that you have someone in your corner who will be looking out for your interests and your rights at every turn. An attorney from The Stroud Law Firm who understands what you are going through can be an invaluable resource during this difficult time. Call The Stroud Law Firm at (662) 536-5656. Our attorneys will treat you with respect and compassion and will work hard on your behalf to get you the best result possible.