Falling Merchandise Injuries in Retail Stores

When you visit a retail store, you expect a safe shopping experience. You do not anticipate suffering serious injuries from merchandise tumbling off shelves or displays. However, falling merchandise accidents happen more often than many people realize, causing severe harm to unsuspecting customers. You should know your legal rights and options if you sustained injuries from falling merchandise in a retail store.

How Falling Merchandise Accidents Happen

Retail stores stock various goods on shelves, racks, and displays to entice customers and maximize sales. However, when these items are improperly stacked, precariously balanced, or inadequately secured, they pose significant hazards if they should fall. Some common scenarios that lead to falling merchandise accidents include:

  • Store employees overloading shelves or stacking items too high
  • Failing to secure heavy merchandise on elevated displays
  • Neglecting to install necessary safety guards or netting
  • Allowing customers to remove items from the bottom of stacked displays
  • Failing to clean up fallen merchandise promptly
  • Using damaged or defective shelving units or display racks
  • Improperly operating forklifts or other lifting equipment near customers

Injuries Caused by Falling Merchandise

When merchandise falls from high shelves or displays, customers could be hit and suffer serious injuries. Bulky items like furniture, appliances, and home improvement supplies are especially hazardous, but smaller objects can inflict severe harm when dropped from a height. 

Common falling merchandise injuries include:

  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Skull fractures and intracranial bleeding
  • Facial lacerations and dental trauma  
  • Eye injuries and vision loss
  • Neck and back injuries, including herniated discs and paralysis
  • Fractured bones and joint dislocations
  • Crush injuries and compartment syndrome
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Shoulder, arm, and hand damage
  • Severe cuts, bruises, and contusions

These injuries often require emergency medical treatment, surgeries, hospitalizations, and lengthy rehabilitation. Victims may suffer chronic pain, permanent impairments, and lasting emotional trauma. They may be unable to work or engage in activities they once enjoyed.

Seeking Accountability from Negligent Retailers

Illinois law requires retail stores to maintain reasonably safe premises for customers. This includes ensuring that merchandise is securely stacked and displayed to prevent falling accidents. When retailers fail to uphold this duty, customers suffer harm. As a result, victims can pursue premises liability claims against the negligent stores.

However, recovering fair compensation after a falling merchandise injury is more complex. Retailers and their insurance companies often look for ways to minimize payouts by disputing the extent of the victim’s injuries or shifting blame to the injured customer.

To protect your rights after a falling merchandise accident, take the following steps:

  • Report the incident to store management right away
  • Take photos of the fallen merchandise, the display, and your injuries if possible
  • Obtain contact information from any witnesses
  • Seek prompt medical attention and follow your doctor’s treatment plan
  • Keep copies of all medical bills and records related to your injuries
  • Contact an experienced premises liability attorney to discuss your case

Compensation for Falling Merchandise Injuries

With skilled legal representation, you may be able to recover compensation for losses such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced future earning capacity
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
  • Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent disabilities
  • Loss of enjoyment and quality of life

Dedicated Advocacy for Falling Merchandise Injury Victims  

If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries from falling merchandise in a retail store, you need experienced legal guidance to protect your rights. At Stein & Shulman, LLC, we have over 60 years of experience fighting for accident victims in the Northbrook area. We understand the pain, stress, and financial strain a serious injury can cause, and we can help. If a retailer’s negligence led to your falling merchandise injuries, do not wait to seek the legal advocacy you need. Contact the knowledgeable Illinois premises liability lawyers at Stein & Shulman, LLC today for a free consultation. We will fight for the justice and financial recovery you deserve.