Last Update: 01/11/16
Struck By Hazards and Falling Merchandise
When people are hurt by something falling on them from overhead, which is a common occurrence in today’s big box world, there’s a body of law in Florida to protect their interests and provide compensation for their injuries.
Almost all of these falling object accidents are the result of a failure to properly handle or stack and store products or equipment. Victims can be workers on the job, but most are store customers.
Common Falling Object Hazards
People are hurt and sometimes seriously injured not just by falling themselves, but in situations where an object falls on them in their ordinary course of conduct. For instance, this can happen to a landscaper injured by a falling tree limb or branch, or while someone is shopping in one of those big-box warehouses where the victim is hurt by a product falling from a display or store shelf.
Other common falling hazards include:
- Tools or equipment left on edges, shelves, roof edges, or window sills
- Products or materials stacked or stocked improperly on shelves where they can slip or slide off their placement
- Objects leaning against walls or display shelves
- Things left leaning on posts, platforms, check-outs, or scaffolds
- Roof tiles lose from weather, construction, or repair.
Hazards Created By Falling Merchandise in Stores
However, more and more, struck-by accident victims are people that have been hurt while shopping or browsing at their local store. Falling merchandise claims have become more common in the United States and Florida with the rise of superstores like Walmart and warehouse stores like Costco, BJs, HomeDepot, and Sam’s Club, where merchandise is stacked inside the shopping aisles and not kept separate from the customers in a separate inventory section.
These falling merchandise accidents can happen to anyone, anytime as they shop. Sometimes, struck-by falling merchandise accidents happen when someone tries to reach a product high on a shelf and the product, or the entire shelf of products, falls on them. These falling merchandise injuries also happen when merchandise has not been properly stacked or stored, and things are unstable. The injury victim gets hurt when some kind of movement or vibration sends the unstable merchandise crashing down, resulting in the victim suffering head injuries, fractures, sprains, and more.
Stocking merchandise in a store is a process that requires training and oversight.
Stores have a duty not only to train their workers on how to properly fill store shelves, but also to have workers reviewing aisles and shelves to insure that stocking has been done properly and to fix unstable stocking before an accident happens.
Does Florida’s Premises Liability Law Apply?
Whether or not you are hurt at work by something falling on you or if you were injured by falling merchandise while shopping at a store, Florida’s premises liability law will apply to the situation. The same issues with proving a slip and fall case also apply to these injury claims. Depending on the facts of the case, under this law the victim may be able to recover from those responsible for the falling object damages that include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
What Should You Do Now?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by an object falling on you, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.