North Carolina Attorneys Prosecute Falling Merchandise Accidents
Holding retail stores accountable for negligence that injures customers
Retailers have a duty to make their stores reasonably safe for the public. However, many outlets cram so much merchandise precariously on the shelves that they create hazards for their customers. If you’ve been injured by falling merchandise in a retail store or supermarket, you may be eligible for compensation. For more than 20 years, Lanier Law Group, P.A. has fought aggressively for injured clients throughout North Carolina. From our offices in Raleigh, Wilmington, Durham, Greensboro, Asheville, Burlington, Fayetteville, Greenville, Winston-Salem, Jamestown and Charlotte, we investigate retail accidents throughout the state. If a negligent act created unnecessary danger, we hold businesses accountable for the harm that results.
The retailer’s duty of reasonable care in North Carolina
Businesses that serve the public have a duty to discover hidden hazards and correct them. If there is a spill in an aisle, a store must take prompt steps to alert customers of the danger and then clean it up, or the store may face liability for any foreseeable harm that results. If the spill is not addressed within a reasonable time and a customer slips and falls, the store may have to compensate the customer for any injuries.
Now consider the poorly stocked shelf. Boxes are piled high, one upon another. The stacks are not stable. When a customer touches one box, the entire pile moves. If a customer touches one pile, another pile moves. These high shelves are above eye level, so most customers cannot get a clear view of the danger in touching one object or the other. Now, has the store created a hazard, or is it the customer’s fault when his handling of the merchandise causes it to fall? There have been many cases litigated across the country giving courts guidance on how to judge certain facts:
- In a case against Walmart, the court held that the way objects were stacked could cause them to fall.
- In a case against Giant Supermarkets, the court held that because cans fell from a shelf without the plaintiff or any other customer touching them, the shelf presented an unreasonable risk.
- In a case against Kmart, the court ruled that there was a serious question of whether a reasonably prudent merchant would have stacked cans on a shelf above eye level without securing them.
- In a case against the A&P, the court ruled that a jury could find that stacking jars on a shelf above eye level presented an unwarranted risk of harm.
Stores often argue that when other customers move merchandise, this creates an intervening cause that absolves the store from liability. But courts routinely reject that argument.
Injury cases involving falling merchandise are very fact specific and generally turn on the condition of the shelf in question. Our firm has dedicated attorneys who know how to investigate and assemble the evidence to make a persuasive case. With a heavyweight in your corner, you may greatly improve your chances of winning the compensation you deserve.
Contact our North Carolina law firm for your premises liability case
Lanier Law Group, P.A. fights to hold retailers accountable for injuries to customers caused by negligence. To discuss your retail store accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer, schedule a free consultation. Call us in Raleigh, Wilmington, Durham, Greensboro, Asheville, Burlington, Fayetteville, Greenville, Winston-Salem, Jamestown or Charlotte at 919.848.2000 or contact us online.