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The dangers of falling merchandise in retail stores

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Retail businesses, especially those with large physical spaces, often have an extensive inventory. These stores typically display assorted goods in rows of high shelves. However, when precariously stacked, there is a risk of falling merchandise accidents.

There are countless ways items can strike unsuspecting customers, causing minor to severe injuries, and, in worst cases, fatalities. Knowing these potential threats can help affected parties establish who may be liable for the harm they sustained.

How merchandise can fall on a customer

Per Massachusetts’ contributory negligence rule, plaintiffs can recover compensation as long as the accused party holds greater liability. To do this, they must show that the store owner or a staff member failed to exercise their duty of care to preserve the safety of their premises for their clients.

This failure could be due to:

  • Improper installation of shelving units
  • Uneven distribution or overcrowding of a specific section
  • Insufficient preventive devices, such as ladders, shelf dividers or bumpers
  • Inadequate training of employees to detect and address hazards
  • Lack of regular inspection or maintenance to check defective or loose parts

Appropriate warning signs are also crucial to alert customers of potential dangers and encourage them to ask for assistance whenever necessary.

How to sue for injuries

Victims of fallen merchandise can file a lawsuit against the property owner if they believe the owner is at fault. They must prove that the owner was aware of the risks. Yet, they failed to fulfill their legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to correct the situation. However, as each case has unique circumstances, a legal advocate can provide strategic guidance to recover fair compensation.