As the size of retail stores grows, so does the likelihood of a customer being injured in a falling merchandise accident. Although big box and warehouse stores are particularly susceptible to these events, they can and do happen in other stores as well, including hardware stores, lawn and garden care stores, clothing stores, and discount retailers. If you or a family member has been injured in the Pembroke Pines area because a store or its employee acted carelessly, the Pembroke Pines premises liability attorneys at Cohn & Smith are here to help.Holding Negligent Businesses Accountable for Damages Caused by Falling Merchandise
Accidents in which one person is hurt on property owned by another individual or business are known as premises liability lawsuits. Sometimes, people may also refer to them as slip and falls, trip and falls, or fall down cases. All premises liability claims, including those arising from falling merchandise accidents, begin with the four-step process required in standard negligence cases. There must be a showing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, and the defendant must have breached the duty. There must be a link of causation between the defendant’s breach of duty and the harm to the victim, and he or she must have been incurred quantifiable damages.
In determining the duty that a defendant in a premises liability case owed the injured person, there are several considerations. This depends somewhat upon the nature of the victim’s presence on the defendant’s property. Trespassers who come onto land without permission are owed the lowest duty of care, but even they cannot be deliberately harmed. Trespassers such as children who come onto property because of an attractive nuisance, such as a swimming pool, may be owed even more care than simply an avoidance of intentional injury.
Licensees and invitees are those who have permission or an implied invitation to be on someone else’s property. They are owed a much higher duty of care than mere trespassers. Customers in retail establishments, such as a mall, warehouse store, supermarket, drug store, or other sales outlet are usually considered to be invitees, the group to whom the highest degree of care is owed. Landowners and store operators must not only warn customers of known dangers, but they must also make regular inspections and provide routine maintenance so that dangerous or defective conditions are avoided.
This duty to provide customers a safe place to shop includes tasks such as proper stacking of merchandise, putting equipment in places where it cannot harm customers, and making sure that shelving is secure. This requires not only proper training of store employees in such procedures but also regular oversight, including checking the aisles periodically for merchandise that may be leaning, tipping, or in another dangerous arrangement. It also includes checking for merchandise, equipment, and other things that other customers may have moved from a safe position to a dangerous position.
When a preventable accident happens due to merchandise or equipment falling on a customer in a store or elsewhere, the injured person may be entitled to financial compensation for his or her harm. Common injuries in falling merchandise cases include:
- Head injuries;
- Bruises and lacerations;
- Fractures and broken bones; and
- Tissue damage.
In determining the value of a lawsuit based on an accident, damages usually include payment of past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages and earning capacity.Seek Legal Guidance from a Pembroke Pines Attorney
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Florida retail establishment or store due to falling merchandise, you need to know your legal rights. In addition to the security of knowing that an experienced lawyer is handling your case, retaining a reputable law firm such as Cohn and Smith can help you avoid or minimize common pitfalls such as allegations of comparative fault, the requirement to meet filing deadlines under the statute of limitations, and negotiations with medical providers concerning past due bills. Our injury attorneys serve individuals from Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines to other cities throughout South Florida, such as Hollywood, Coral Springs, and Tamarac. You can call our Pembroke Pines lawyers at 954-431-8100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.