Stacking merchandise high on shelves is commonplace at many different kinds of retail stores. If merchandise is not properly secured, however, it may fall, seriously injuring a customer who is passing beneath the items. Sometimes merchandise also falls from a lower level because another customer placed it back on the shelf at a precarious angle. As in other premises liability cases, Dallas residents may need to consult a knowledgeable lawyer. Feizy Law Office can explore the details of your situation and advise you on your options.Seeking Compensation for Injuries Caused by Falling Merchandise
Retail stores must follow specific safety standards when they stack merchandise, and they must train their employees to follow any safety policies and procedures that have been put in place. Unfortunately, many retail stores fail to focus on safety. This can result in improper stacking items or inadequately inspecting the store for conditions that could be dangerous for customers. This problem is especially pronounced in super warehouse stores, where heavy merchandise may be stacked especially high. For example, catastrophic injuries can result from a television falling on someone from two stories up in a big box store.
As in other premises liability cases, if you are hurt by falling merchandise, you can possibly recover compensation by proving that:
- The retail store possessed actual or constructive knowledge that the merchandise could fall and posed an unreasonable risk of harm;
- The retail store did not use reasonable care to reduce the risk of injury;
- The retail store's failure to use reasonable care in stacking the merchandise or inspecting store conditions was the legal cause of your injuries; and
- Actual damages arose because of the accident.
Retail stores owe a high degree of care to customers. They can be held liable not only if they actually knew that falling merchandise could hurt a customer, but also if they should have known that falling merchandise presented a risk to customers. However, it can be challenging to prove constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition, particularly if the dangerous condition is created by another customer, and not by an employee.
What should you do after an accident? A store's video surveillance tapes can be useful to prove liability. For example, if the fault is with a customer who replaced the merchandise in a precarious position, a surveillance tape may show how much time passed before the merchandise fell on you. If a significant amount of time passed, it may be inferred that the store should have noticed the precariousness of the merchandise and fixed the situation.
Similarly, surveillance videotape may record how the merchandise was stacked by an employee or that an employee did not follow the proper safety procedures to make sure the merchandise was secured. Some stores tape over surveillance tapes within a certain amount of time, making it crucial to consult an attorney right away. If possible, you should also take your own photographs of the scene and jot down contact information for witnesses to your accident.Protect Your Rights after an Accident by Enlisting a Dallas Lawyer
If you have been hurt by falling merchandise in a retail store in the Dallas area, you should consult an injury attorney right away. Evidence that could be helpful to your case may fade or be misplaced. An attorney can help make sure the appropriate evidence is preserved. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or set up a free appointment via our online form. We also represent accident victims in Texas cities such as Fort Worth, Irving, Plano, Garland, and Arlington.