Your Right to Shop in a Safe Environment
“Shopping injuries” is a broad term that encompasses any injury that happens while shopping in a retail store or shopping mall. Shopping injuries can involve:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Merchandise falling on customers
- Any other dangerous circumstances that cause injury to shoppers
Surprisingly, they are more common than you might assume, and sometimes more dangerous than you can imagine. During the holidays, stores become particularly crowded and chaotic, causing the potential for injuries to rise.
Stores have a responsibility to keep shoppers safe all year long, and they should be held accountable for any negligence that results in shopping injuries.
$7.5 Million Awarded Recently to Alabama Man Injured at Walmart
For most of us, walking into a retail store or shopping mall means that we expect injuries to our bank accounts rather than our physical bodies. Unfortunately, injuries do occur during shopping trips, as was the case for Henry Walker, a 61-year-old Alabama man, when his foot became stuck in a pallet at WalMart.
Walker, who was shopping for watermelons, fell and broke his hip when his foot became stuck in a pallet holding a box of watermelons. An Alabama jury awarded him $7.5 million in damages.
Walker’s legal defense team argued that Walmart should have covered the pallet containing the watermelons, which would have made the display safer to shoppers. This constituted negligence on behalf of Walmart and caused bodily injury to Walker.
Your Right to a Safe Shopping Experience
Every shopper has the right to safety.
Shopping injuries increase exponentially around holidays, especially around Black Friday and the ensuing Christmas holiday.
Pallets aren’t the only displays with potential for hazard. Falling store shelves are not uncommon. For example, since 1987, approximately 30,000 falling-merchandise incidents have occurred at WalMart alone.
The reason for some of these incidents is stacking items improperly or too high. Customers need assistance when reaching for items that are placed high on top shelves, and store associates should be available to help.
Merchandise that is not secured properly can also pose a threat. In general, bars and rails can help keep items corralled safely. When such steps are not taken by retailers, shoppers may be at risk.
Stores should also notify shoppers of potential dangers; keep floors dry and free from debris; and clean up spills promptly. While each of us should use good judgment and situational awareness, stores should keep their shoppers’ safety at the forefront.
Defendants in shopping injury cases might want to blame the customer by stating that the danger should have been obvious to the customer. Shopping, however, should not require a high sensitivity to danger or a risk of head or bodily injury.
What To Do if You Have Incurred a Shopping Injury
At Marks Law Group, we understand that these incidents can occur even when you least expect them. A simple trip to WalMart, Target, or the grocery store can come with hefty consequences that aren’t your fault. We hope this never happens to you or anyone you love, but, if it does, there are a few simple steps you should follow:
- Report and document the incident. Notify the manager and complete an incident report. Make sure your incident has been recorded snap a photo of the incident report once it is complete for your records. You might also photograph the area where the incident occurred.
- Identify any witnesses. If possible, obtain their contact information.
- Seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of your injury, get medical help as soon as possible. Clearly explain the cause of your injury to medical professionals. Follow your medical provider’s instructions.
Marks Law Group is highly skilled in the area of shopping injuries, including falling merchandise or otherwise faulty displays.
Everyone is entitled to safe, injury-free shopping. If you experience an injury while shopping, call us and we will listen to your story, direct your next steps, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.