I Was Struck by Falling Merchandise at a Store. Can I Sue?

If you were struck by falling merchandise at a store, you may be able to sue the store. Other parties can also be responsible.

How Merchandise Can Fall on a Customer in a Store

There are endless possibilities for how goods can fall on a person in a store. Here are some common scenarios:

  • A store employee improperly stacked the items on the shelf. In this situation, the merchandise shifts and falls because an employee did not place the items on the rack correctly. Crooked or leaning stacks of boxes or cans can fall over on a shopper and cause injury.
  • Someone installed the shelves improperly. If display shelving units were not put together correctly, the shelves can collapse or fall over on customers. Any merchandise on the shelves can also land on shoppers when the shelves fall.
  • The shelves were inadequate for the weight of the merchandise. All shelves have weight limitations. Let’s say that a store had shelving units designed for lightweight items, like facial tissue and napkins. An employee loaded up the shelves with car batteries which were much heavier than the shelves could hold for the long-term. A shopper strolling through the store’s aisles sustained severe injuries when the shelves gave way and dumped dozens of car batteries on her.
  • Someone moved previously stacked items on the store’s shelving. Another shopper pushed other items aside to reach what he wanted. In doing so, he left a stack of goods teetering precariously. These items could fall on another shopper.

What We Have to Prove to Hold the Store Liable for Your Injuries

Georgia law says that the landowner is responsible for injuries to people if all three of these things are true:

A Dangerous Condition Existed on the Property

An employee noticed a shelving unit was broken but did not have time to remove all the merchandise from the shelf.

The Owner Knew or Should Have Known About the Hazard

The employee notified the store manager immediately about the broken shelf. To prove this criterion, we can talk to the employee and get their testimony. We can also look through any notes the store manager or owner made about needing to fix the shelf.

The Owner Did Not Take Reasonable Steps to Correct the Situation

The store manager told the employee that they would remove the merchandise and fix the shelf, but they never did. The merchandise on the shelf fell as you walked by, causing you to suffer serious injuries.

What to Do if Merchandise Falls on You in a Store

If you suffered injuries after being struck by falling merchandise, your first priority should be getting medical care. You will increase your odds of a positive medical outcome with prompt professional treatments and evaluation, but the benefits do not end there. We will use the medical records as proof that you sustained your injuries from the accident in the store and to establish the severity of the harm you suffered.

If you are able, report the accident to the store manager. Do not let your embarrassment keep you from filing a report. This could be the crux of your injury claim. Ensure they write up a report and issue you a copy. Write down their name and contact information. You may also want to discuss your case with any eyewitnesses. If you had a friend with you at the time of the incident, have them write down anything they saw.

Once you have received medical care, talk with a personal injury lawyer who handles premises liability injury claims. At S. Burke Law, we help people who sustain injuries on the property of other people. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how a premises liability lawyer can help with your case.