Many businesses are trying to keep more and more of their products on the shelves to save money. This is especially true for big box and warehouse stores, like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, and Staples, where the shelves are stacked to the ceiling. Unfortunately, when goods or heavy boxes fall on unsuspecting customers, they can suffer serious injuries or even death.
What Are the Causes of Falling Merchandise Accidents?
Store owners have a duty to maintain their properties in a safe condition for customers and others and to post warning signs of potential hazards. Here are some negligent business practices that can lead to merchandise falling onto people:
- Too high stacks. Some stores have products stored as high as 15 feet above the floor. Customers may need to step on shelves, use ladders, or stretch beyond their abilities to get what they are looking for. They can suffer long-term brain, back, or spinal injuries if they hit the floor when merchandise falls off the shelf.
- Unsecured merchandise. Merchants often fail to employ securing devices, such as security bars, fencing, and shelf extenders, to prevent merchandise from falling. This is especially necessary for items stacked on high shelves where the danger of falling goods is greater.
- Improper stacking. When items are not stacked properly, the chances that they will fall increases significantly. In some cases, employees receive little or no training on how to safely stack the store’s merchandise.
- Lack of warnings. Managers and store owners may know the risks of precariously stacked merchandise, but fail to warn customers of the dangers. In addition, they can be negligent if they fail to cordon off areas where merchandise is being moved or do not use spotters when another employee is stocking the shelves.
Were you injured by falling merchandise while you were in a store? Our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to obtain the evidence you need to hold the business liable and to fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.