Home improvement stores stock a lot of heavy tools, building materials, and equipment. Whether simply walking down an aisle or attempting to access an item for purchase, there is always the potential of being struck by a falling object. Events like these can be devastating. The impact of a fast-moving item can result in concussive injuries, broken bones, lacerations and other physical harm. If an item is heavy enough, being struck on the top of the head with it can lead to severe brain injury. Strong blows to the neck can result in spinal cord injuries, and jagged or sharp materials can disfigure the face and other areas.
Fortunately, those who’ve been harmed by falling objects in home improvement stores have legal recourse. These types of injuries fall under premises liability law. Home improvement stores and other retail outlets have a responsibility to ensure that all spaces accessible to shoppers are safe and free of hazards.
How Falling Object Injuries Occur
Falling object injuries can occur in a vast range of ways. Items that have been shelved improperly and are not stable can topple over as consumers browse the store. Items that have been shelved too high may incite consumers to climb shelving or use other nearby structures for support as they attempt to access higher elevations.
Even removing products from accessible shelves can prove dangerous if these items have been positioned incorrectly and are supporting other products. Those stocking and creating displays in home improvement stores should never:
- Create excessively high towers of stacked products that might topple if items are removed
- Layer products on top of one another in an unsafe way to maximize available display area
- Store products at heights that are inaccessible to consumers without providing a safe and reliable means of retrieval
- Exceed the load-bearing limits of any display shelf or surface
One of the primary concerns of home improvement stores is keeping their display shelves full so that consumers can easily access and purchase what they want. However, when stocking spaces that are open to shoppers, these entities must prioritize safety over profits.
Maintaining the bulk of their inventories in back storerooms ensures that goods are always readily at hand, and without exposing consumers to unnecessary dangers. Among some of the worst falling object injuries sustained are those that occur when overstocked shelves topple or collapse.
How To Know if a Home Improvement Store Is Responsible
Home improvement stores are responsible for both the actions of their employees, and for the layout and overall safety of their retail spaces. To protect themselves from premises liability suits, these entities must have solid plans in place for ensuring that displays are stable, accessible and capable of having products be removed without impacting their integrity. Store owners not addressing dangers on their property can be held accountable.
What To Do After Being Struck by a Falling Object
If you’ve been harmed by a falling object in a home improvement store, you should:
- Use your mobile phone to take a picture of the accident scene
- Seek medical attention right away
- Get in touch with a personal injury attorney
Be sure to document your actions just ahead of the event as well. These are details that your attorney can use to determine whether or not you have a valid claim. In instances in which a store owner’s oversight or negligence has resulted in physical harm, compensation for the resulting damages, pain and suffering can be sought.
Although falling object injuries are comparable to slip and fall accidents, the physical damages are often more severe. Having heavy items hit the head, neck, or shoulders can result in lasting pain, loss of mobility, disfiguring injuries, and more. Understanding this, those who own and operate home improvement stores must take special care to ensure that their products can be accessed safely and without affecting the integrity or stability of the related shelving or displays.
With a law degree under his belt and years of experience, Mark Scott set off to make the law more accessible to all. He decided to help people lost in the maze of legal terminology to find their way. Mark writes clear and concise pieces and gives simple advice that is easy to follow. On account of positive feedback from readers, he decided to dedicate more of his time to this goal and became a legal columnist. In his writings, Mark covers a wide array of topics, like how to seek legal counsel, or how to deal with different procedures. Furthermore, he directs his readers toward other trustworthy resources for more in-depth information.