Many individuals are unaware of negligent merchandise placement on shelves in numerous commercial establishments starting from department stores or big box stores, and continuing with malls or furniture stores.
Far too many Individuals who have been severely injured by merchandise improperly placed on an overhead shelf are not aware of the fact that injuries stemming from this type of accident are legally actionable.
These types of accidents happen when:
- attempting to reach an item on a shelf above the head, which ends up falling
- trip-and-fall injuries caused by unsafely stacked pieces of merchandise which fall and obstruct an aisle
- unbalanced stacked merchandise which suddenly falls.
These cases are usually handled by a personal injury lawyer and as in all personal injury cases, the degree of negligence on the part of the property or business owner must be determined.
In falling merchandise lawsuits, comparative negligence is being considered. This means that a jury must evaluate the degree to which the injured individual was himself or herself at fault for the accident. This contributes to the decision of awarding damages and can result in smaller compensatory awards.
Victims of such accidents are entitled to receive compensation to cover for:
- past and future medical expenses
- cost of medication
- rehabilitation costs (such as home care or nursing for those left disabled after the injuries)
- pain and suffering
- lost wages and loss of capacity to have an income.
Common injuries resulted from this kind of accidents include nerve damage, facial disfigurement, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury or concussions.
The majority of falling merchandise cases fall under the paersonal injury legal doctrine of negligence, so the key elements which need to be proven are as it follows:
1. The defendant (store owners and operators) owed a duty to the plaintiff (shoppers)
2. The defendant breached the duty owed to the injured party - The store failed to properly secure the merchandise on the shelves or improperly placed it and increased the risk of falling goods.
3. The breach of this duty lead to the accident.
4. The accident injured the plaintiff.
Another important aspect is the statute of limitations which refers to the timeline in which the victim can file a claim. This timeframe is not the same for all the states and if it's not respected, the injured person loses any right to receive compensation. The best thing to do when dealing with injuries caused by falling merchandise is to contact a personal injury lawyer and get legal advice.