Sacramento Falling Merchandise Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has been struck by falling merchandise, talk to a Sacramento premises liability lawyer that is experienced in these matters. Big stores have clever attorneys who will ignore your claim unless you come with an assertive attorney who has been in this kind of battle before.
At Rosenthal Law, our Sacramento falling merchandise injury lawyers will file a lawsuit to compensate you for lost wages, medical expenses, and for the misery and pain this injury has caused you.
Merchandise Storage Has Changed
Years ago, stores did not stack shelves 20 feet high. The worst that could happen was a can of soup falling on your foot. In today’s superstores, however, designed to keep the maximum amount of merchandise on the sales floor, bad things happen. Shelves collapse from the tons of weight they bear. Or merchandise stacked overhead decides to fall just when you are standing below.
It’s no joke when you are struck by a skid of any kind of product, even pillows. The sheer mass of the merchandise and the distance it must fall can break your back, seriously damage your brain, or even kill you.
Falling merchandise injuries occur in any warehouse-type store or place of business. This includes grocery stores, discount stores, and auto parts stores — wherever merchandise is stacked to the sky. Property owners or business owners may be responsible for injuries from falling objects.
How an Attorney Can Help
A skilled lawyer with experience handling complex claims will be a significant benefit for a falling merchandise case. In order to recover compensation, individuals have to prove that the other party was negligent. For these cases, establishing negligence involves showing four basic elements:
Duty of Care
First, it must be established that there was a duty of care owed by the defendant (the person or entity alleged to have caused the injury) to the plaintiff (the injury victim). If the injury victim had a right to be on the premises for whatever reason, whether as a customer, vendor, or other type of guest, then the property owner owes them a duty of care. This duty extends to ensuring that the premises are safe and free from known hazards.
Breach of Duty
Next, it must be shown that the defendant somehow breached the duty of care that they owed the injury victim. This breach can occur in a variety of ways, including the property owner failing to place adequate warning signs, failing to conduct regular inspections or maintenance, or intentionally misleading guests.
If a breach of duty did indeed occur, a Sacramento falling merchandise injury attorney will need to show that the breach of duty is what actually caused the injuries in question. If there were any other factors contributing to the injury, this could jeopardize a claim against the property owner or result in issues of shared liability.
Finally, the claim will only move forward if the plaintiff sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.
When you work with an attorney, you will have an advocate ready to thoroughly investigate the incident, handle all communication with other parties, and work to recover a fair settlement. If necessary, an attorney will prepare to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the alleged negligent party and move the case forward toward trial.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Falling Merchandise Case?
Individuals may be able to recover various types of compensation after an injury involving falling merchandise. At Rosenthal Law, we strive to recover both economic and non-economic damages on behalf of all premises liability victims that we assist.
Economic damages revolve around expenses that are relatively calculable after an incident like this. These types of damages are calculable because injury victims and their legal team can gather the bills, invoices, and receipts received as a result of the injuries and other lifestyle changes caused by the incident. Some of the most common economic damages associated with falling merchandise cases include:
- Emergency medical bills
- Any necessary ongoing medical expenses
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Prescription medications and medical devices
- Lost wages if a victim is unable to work
- Out-of-pocket expenses are rising due to the injuries
These damages are not as straightforward because they are harder to measure. These types of damages will not necessarily have receipts or bills that can be gathered and added up because they revolve around the injury victim’s physical pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. There are various accepted calculation methods for determining adequate non-economic damages, and your Sacramento injury lawyer will help you sort through this process. Non-economic damages are equally as important, and can often result in a substantially higher settlement or jury verdict.
How Much Compensation is Available?
There is no set amount of compensation paid to those injured by falling merchandise. Several factors could influence the total settlement amount, including the initial severity of the injuries, how long it takes a person to recover, whether or not there are any lost wages involved, the total level of a victim’s pain and suffering, as well as any allegations of shared fault.
Types of Injuries
Falling merchandise can lead to a wide range of injuries, including the following:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Crush injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Severe abrasions or bruises
- Lacerations or puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord trauma
- Concussions or traumatic brain injury
These types of objects can be caused by the falling objects themselves, by pushing individuals into other objects, or by causing individuals to fall to the ground. The exact types of injuries and the severity of the injuries will also revolve heavily around the type of object that falls from shelves or other areas. For example, smaller boxes or items could fall and hit somebody and not cause too much damage, but large objects and overloaded pallets could lead to severe crush injuries and even death.
California Laws on Commercial Property Safety
Every property owner owes a duty of care to those who have a right to be on their premises. This includes those who own private residences as well as commercial property owners. For example, those who own and operate banks, grocery stores, gyms, and other areas where the public or customers are expected to be are responsible for ensuring the premises are free from known hazards.
Typically, the duty of a commercial property owner extends to conducting regular inspections of the premises to watch out for potential hazards as well as regular maintenance. If a property owner discovers a potential hazard that could cause harm to a member of the public or a customer, they are responsible for doing one of two things immediately (or both simultaneously):
- Warning guests of the potential hazard
- Remedying the hazard (fixing the problem)
Sometimes, it is not possible for a commercial property owner to fix a known hazard right away, which is why warning signs must be posted. If a hazard is severe enough, guests should be told about the hazard, and warning signs should still be placed. In some situations, it may make more sense to close down an entire commercial property due to a known hazard, but this will depend on the scope of the problem and the potential for injuries to the public.
What to Do After an Accident in a Retail Store
If an individual sustains an injury in a retail store, whether as a result of falling merchandise, a slip and fall, or some other type of incident, there are various steps they can take immediately following the incident and the days after to help ensure the integrity of their claim.
- Medical care. The number one priority after any falling merchandise incident is the health and well-being of the injury victim. Depending on the severity of the injury, an ambulance may need to come to the scene to evaluate the situation and take the individual to the hospital. Even if there is no immediate pain or injury signs or symptoms, we encourage any person who has been struck by falling merchandise to seek immediate medical care.
- Report the incident. Almost every retail store has a method of reporting incidents. The first priority is finding an employee who can get a supervisor who understands the process. This may include the employee writing out an accident report, either a paper report or digitally. Do not sign any waiver given to you in the store after the incident occurs. Your responsibility is to report the injury to the retail store and nothing more.
- Document the scene. There may be various ways to document the injury scene, including using a cell phone to take pictures of the merchandise that fell, the area where it fell from, the injury itself, and the entire area of the incident. Additionally, make a note of any security cameras you see in the area because there may be footage available that shows the entire incident.
- Contact an attorney. A Sacramento falling merchandise lawyer can get involved quickly and begin the evidence-gathering process. Additionally, an attorney can take over all communication with the other parties, including the retail store, their insurance carrier, and any legal teams that get involved.
- Continue medical treatment. Any individual injured at a retail store should continue all medical treatments recommended by their healthcare professionals. Discontinuing care before a doctor or other medical professional recommends doing so could jeopardize the insurance claim or the personal injury lawsuit settlement.
Free Consultation with a Sacramento Falling Merchandise Injury Attorney
Call Rosenthal Law at (916) 774-7200 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Sacramento falling merchandise lawyers. All personal injury claims are handled on a contingency basis, which means you pay no attorney fees unless you win. You may also send us your questions using this online form.