Falling Merchandise Claims in South Carolina

If you’re like most Americans, you visit a grocery store or megastore at least once a week; perhaps you visit both of these types of stores regularly. From Wal-Mart to Food Lion, to Home Depot and Kroger to Target and Whole Foods – Columbia residents have plenty of stores to choose from. While visiting these stores is supposed to be a “safe” shopping experience, that’s not always the case.

When most people think about accidents at stores and mega stores, they usually think about slip and fall accidents and perhaps a pedestrian accident in a store’s parking lot. But, what people fail to think about is “falling merchandise accidents.” Though there’s less awareness about these accidents, thousands of falling merchandise claims are filed each and every year in the United States.

Beware of Falling Merchandise from Above

Understandably, stores want to maximize their space and minimize the number of trips from the warehouse or storeroom to the floor. So, stores will often stack merchandise several feet above customers’ heads. In mega stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, merchandise can be stacked so high, it poses a serious threat to customers if anything were to cause the merchandise to fall on unsuspecting customers below.

In the ABC News article, “Merchandise Can Kill in Megastores,” the author Maria F. Durand said, “While representatives of megastores say claims from falling merchandise represent a small fraction of all accidents, trial lawyers say the number is still huge and people continue to die and suffer life-changing injuries from goods that drop 12 and 16 feet from massive shelves,” and we have to agree with Durand.

Falling merchandise typically results in injuries to the:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Upper torso
  • Spinal Cord

Maggie Harrison, the daughter of a 79-year-old woman who was killed by falling lumber in a Los Angeles Home Depot told ABC News, “I think this kind of stuff should be a matter of public record. Stores should be rated like restaurants and there should be an outside governing body looking into its safety.” Aside from local fire code standards, there are no federal regulations in place that govern how stores stack merchandise in their aisles, but hopefully that will change in the future.

Have you or someone you love been injured due to falling merchandise in a store or megastore? If so, contact our office to meet with a Columbia, SC personal injury attorney.

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