Retail store accidents do not just involve slip, trip and fall accidents. Accidents in stores often occur due to:
- shelf collapse/fall accidents,
- merchandise falling from shelves, and
- display tip-over accidents.
In general, Pennsylvania accident-injury law recognizes that a retail store owes customers a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. This applies to stores in a shopping mall, large department stores, big box stores, hardware stores, discount stores, etc. Serious accidents and injuries often occur due to a store’s negligence in managing shelves, aisles, and displays.
The following explains liability of a store in three common accident scenarios involving a shelf collapse accident, a merchandise accident, and a display accident.
Store Liability in a Shelf Collapse/Fall Accident Case
A child at a large toy store is walking down an aisle with his parent when a large metal shelf collapses above him. He is seriously injured when the heavy metal shelf strikes him in the head. An investigation reveals that the merchandise on the shelf exceeded the recommended maximum weight restriction for the shelving unit. In other words, the store piled up too much merchandise on the shelf, causing it to collapse. Here, the store would be liable for negligence in managing merchandise on the shelving unit, which directly led to the shelf collapse accident and the child’s injuries.
Store Liability in a Merchandise Accident Case
A customer at a hardware store is walking down an aisle when a large box falls from a top shelf and lands on the customer’s ankle, causing a fracture. The investigation reveals that the large box was filled with heavy objects and not placed correctly on the shelf. The box was hanging dangerously over the edge of the shelf. After the accident, a store employee admits that he knew the box was hanging over the shelf and simply forgot to push it back in place. In this case, the hardware store would be liable for creating an unreasonably dangerous condition, improperly stocking a large, heavy box on a top shelf.
Store Liability in a Display Accident Case
A customer is walking through a large department store when a large and heavy merchandise display tips over and falls onto her. She falls backwards and injures her back. The investigation reveals that the instructions for assembling the display indicated that the display was supposed to be fastened to the wall to prevent tip-overs, but the store simply failed to use the fasteners. Here, the store would be liable for negligence in assembling the display, which resulted in the display tipping over.
Can You Receive Financial Compensation for Your Store Accident Case?
If you were injured in a store accident involving falling merchandise, a shelf collapse or a display tip-over, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your injuries and any resulting financial losses. You may be able to receive money for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
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