When going into a big box store, never look up. Why? Because you will see that merchandise is often crammed almost to the ceiling. Careful storage of merchandise is essential to store safety. Unfortunately, lax stocking practices can contribute to devastating injuries when the merchandise falls onto unsuspecting customers.
If you’ve been buried under a pile of merchandise, you need to be very careful about the steps you take. What you say and do immediately after the accident can make the difference between a full and fair settlement or next to nothing in compensation.
At DC Law, we have brought many premises liability claims for falling merchandise. Read on for a list of steps you should take.
Get Pictures at the Store
Use your smartphone, if you have one, or borrow someone else’s. Take pictures of the following:
- The items that fell on you
- The items on the floor, exactly as they have landed
- The shelf where the items fell from
These pictures can help establish that you have a case. For example, a picture of the item that hit you can help explain why you are injured. If the item is large, then a jury will instinctively understand that it broke a bone or left a deep bruise. These pictures bring the accident “alive” for the jury.
Taking a picture of the shelf soon after the accident is also key. This picture can show that other merchandise has been improperly stored on the shelves (even if it hasn’t yet fallen). Remember, to sue a store, you need to show that the store was somehow negligent:
- The store put heavy items too high on the shelf, which can make shelves unstable
- Shelves are poorly constructed and are in danger of tipping over
- Large items are stored on small shelves and are in danger of slipping off and falling on customers
- The store does not use ties, nets, or other restraints to prevent objects from falling
You can bolster a case by getting the names of people who saw the accident. Also, be sure to collect their contact information in case your attorney needs to reach out to them. A witness who watched an item come crashing down on you can also help bring the accident alive.
Obtain Medical Treatment
The sooner you receive treatment, the stronger your chance of recovering from the accident. Texas law also requires that you “mitigate” your damages, meaning you must take reasonable steps to minimize your injuries and economic losses. Getting prompt medical treatment documents your injuries and shows you are serious about recovery.
Meet with an Attorney
An attorney will review your case and decide whether you have a strong claim for compensation. The attorney will look for signs that the store was negligent in how it stacked or shelved merchandise.
At DC Law, we have deep experience holding retail stores and other businesses accountable when they carelessly injure innocent victims. Contact us today. We offer a free case evaluation to those who call 512-220-1800.