Falling Merchandise Injuries: What You Need to Know

falling merchandise

What You’ll Learn Reading This Article

  • What Indiana’s Premise Liability Law entails
  • Why falling merchandise occurs
  • How to file a claim if you are injured by falling merchandise

Strolling down the aisles of Costco is a sensory treat. The warehouse is packed full of consumer goods, all waiting to be plucked off the shelves. Customers tilt their heads upwards to scan the plastic-wrapped packages above them, awed by the sheer volume of products at their disposal. But what happens when those highly-stacked products, meant to entice customers, end up injuring them instead? What are the next steps when big-box retailers misstep?

Answer: At Poynter & Bucheri, we are experts in the realm of premise liability law, and we can help you file a claim if you have been injured by falling merchandise. Read on to learn more about how we can best serve you and your claim needs. Stores do not have the right to neglect customer safety in the name of inventory advertisement. We know this and you know this. It’s time they knew this.

What Indiana’s Premise Liability Law Entails

Indiana’s premise liability law legally holds property owners liable for injuries on-site. In the case of falling merchandise in a store, customers or employees are considered “invitees,” which are people who are invited onto the property by the owner, usually out of benefit to the landowner. Landowners for invitees are usually big box stores, small retail businesses, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, or bars. These businesses owe the highest degree of care to invitees, so it is a serious matter when they fail them.

When an invitee is injured on-site, landowners can be held liable if:

  1. They know of or should know of, by employing reasonable care, that there are hazardous conditions that put invitees at risk
  2. They presume invitees will not recognize the risk of danger
  3. They do not utilize reasonable care to protect invitees from danger

According to Indiana law, you have 2 years from the date you were injured to file a premises liability claim. You will not be compensated for your injuries if your claim is filed outside of that timeframe. So, it’s important to file a claim with an experienced personal injury attorney right away if you were injured in a store.

Why Falling Merchandise Occurs

Falling merchandise occurs all too often and customers are all too unaware of the risk. It’s important to understand the reasons for falling merchandise in stores, so you can better protect yourself when you are shopping in them.

Here are the common reasons why falling merchandise is a prevalent problem:

Reason #1: Stacked Merchandise

Many stores overstock on products and do not have a place to store them, so their erroneous solution is to stack the merchandise up high on store shelves. However, this creates a weight that is unsustainable and unstable, leaving customers in peril of heavy merchandise toppling over them, resulting in a completely preventable tragic accident.

Reason #2: Inappropriate Stocking

Employees should be trained on how to stock shelves safely, but many times they never receive this training, resulting in the inappropriate stacking of goods. When the products are stacked in this haphazardly way, the slightest customer nudge will give way to an avalanche of stacked goods, causing unwarranted injury to the store patron.

Reason #3: Insufficient Shelving

We all have experience going up and down the aisles of a grocery store, standing in front of a shelf, counting up how many jars of spaghetti sauce to buy. But what you didn’t count on was that shelf suddenly collapsing and your body being right in the line of product fire. Substandard shelving, while cheap for retailers, is a hazard for customers because its ability to hold merchandise depreciates over time. This is a risk, customers shouldn’t have to take when frequenting their local grocery store.

Reason #4: Improper Floor Management

We are all guilty of picking up a grocery item, tossing it in our cart, and then, in a moment of “Eh, I don’t need this,” replacing the item— but on the wrong shelf. Customers frequently move merchandise around; it’s part of the store experience. However, part of the store owner’s responsibility is to reposition those out-of-place items safely. Failure to manage the floor properly like this can create unbalanced stacked goods, which pose a risk to customers.

An additional floor-management responsibility is to post proper warning signs if there is a safety risk to patrons. For instance, a clever display of canned goods in the shape of a Christmas tree, while seasonally fun, is also a dangerous falling hazard. A warning sign should be placed next to the display, warning customers not to touch or stand too close to the display.

How to File a Claim if You are Injured by Falling Merchandise

The above reasons illustrate the probability (not possibility!) of falling merchandise causing serious personal injury, especially trauma to the head, neck, shoulders, and upper torso. If you’ve experienced such injuries, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney, one who has a detailed knowledge of premise liability law and one who knows how to get you the compensation you justly deserve. Poynter & Bucheri provides lawyers with this expertise, enabling you to file a successful claim if you are unfairly injured by falling store merchandise.

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery — Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product, or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses. Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%*, and we fight to win your case, or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate — one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.