- Improperly stacked and maintained merchandise and shelving can create a dangerous environment for unsuspecting patrons.
- Falling merchandise can cause serious injury, and the medical bills for treatment, medication, and rehab can be expensive.
- Premises liability law legally holds property owners responsible for injuries sustained on-site.
- Employees injured by falling merchandise at the workplace are not prevented from making a claim.
- A personal injury lawyer can help you properly gather key evidence and investigate what occurred to put together your strongest possible claim.
As you browse the shelves at stores, the last thing on your mind is getting injured by falling merchandise. But unfortunately, this scenario happens to unsuspecting shoppers all the time.
Merchandise may be too heavy for shelving, improperly stacked, or become unstable throughout the day, causing a dangerous situation for patrons.
Falling merchandise can cause serious injury, and the medical bills for treatment, medication, and rehab can be expensive. The costs from these accidents can be financially crippling, adding to the pain of the physical injuries sustained.
If you’ve been injured, or a loved one killed, by falling merchandise in a store, the business should be held liable. Here’s what you should know about pursuing a personal injury case against a business for falling merchandise.
Why Merchandise Falls Inside Stores
There are many reasons why merchandise will fall in a store, including:
- Under trained employees who don’t properly handle the merchandise
- Inventory being stacked higher than it should due to limited space
- Cheap or poorly maintained shelves
- Poor floor management, where employees fail to reset merchandise properly after customers move things around
- Lack of proper warnings and signage
Of course, there are other reasons why merchandise may fall in stores, including natural disasters, product malfunctions, or any structural damage to the facility above the merchandise. All of these situations mean each case is unique.
An attorney can help you determine how to apply the Georgia laws that are meant to protect people like you who have been injured due to a dangerous condition in a store.
Georgia Laws Protect In-Store Accident Victims
The Georgia code that covers injuries suffered in stores falls under premises liability law. The provisions can be found at O.C.G.A 51-3-1 here.
Property owners are expected to exercise ordinary care for the health and wellbeing of visitors. And premises liability legally holds property owners responsible for injuries sustained on-site. It is up to businesses to actively protect shoppers as a public health and policy matter.
If you are injured, businesses know that they might be held responsible because of their duties as property owners. They may not be surprised to see a lawsuit when an injury occurs on their property.
How a Premises Liability Claim Works
The most general events and timeline of a premises liability claim are as follows:
- A publicly-open store advertises business and invites you in.
- You enter an area in the store that was unsafe because the shelves were not well kept or the floors were not clear.
- You are injured by falling merchandise and have to get medical treatment for your injuries, incurring significant costs.
- You contact a personal injury lawyer, and they start building a claim against a business.
- To build a claim, they collect all the evidence, medical records, and statements, and submit a legal claim.
- The insurance company of the business, and your personal injury law firm negotiate back and forth about the cost and negligence of the accident.
- Eventually they either agree, or don’t agree on a settlement offer. If the agree, compensation is awarded, and accident expenses are paid.
The business liable for your injuries will likely file a legal claim against their insurance policy to pay the costs of the accident if demanded by a personal injury lawyer. The insurance company can dispute the claim, or they can agree to settle. Serious disputes often end up being settled in court.
Why File a Premises Liability Claim for Injuries from Falling Merchandise?
You might wonder why it is important to file a premises liability claim to cover injuries sustained from falling merchandise. Here are three main reasons:
- Unless you suffered a minor injury that doesn’t cause much pain, injuries can come with long and difficult recoveries that require expensive medical treatment. If you do not file a premises liability claim, you may be responsible for all medical, rehab, and medication bills, plus any lost income due to being unable to work from your injury.
- Because of subrogation, your personal health insurance company will likely not pay the bills if a business is responsible for causing the accident. You may not be able to file a claim with your own insurance unless it is shown that the business was not at fault, and the fault was your own or possibly another customers.
- Filing claims against premises owners will motivate them to be better at preventing future accidents.
Unless you are willing and able to simply take on all of the costs incurred from an injury, it is smart to file a claim.
Strong Premises Liability Claims Need Good Evidence
Strong evidence is critical in giving you the best chance at success in a premises liability merchandise injury claim.
In these types of cases, the most useful evidence is usually found within the stores themselves. Witness testimony from other customers or employees who saw the accident can be helpful to your claim. Most stores have security cameras, and a strong premises liability claim will force it to provide the video footage of the accident. 911 emergency call recordings, medical documents, and photographs of the accident scene are also key to a premises liability claim.
Having to gather evidence and investigate the scene yourself while recovering from an accident injury can be extremely difficult. To make matters worse, you may be faced with an uncooperative business. A personal injury lawyer can help properly gather all of this evidence and investigate what occurred to put together your strongest possible claim.
Georgia Businesses that Are Known to Have Merchandise Fall
Injuries from falling merchandise can occur at almost any business in the state of Georgia, including:
- Big-box stores
- Smaller retailers
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
Any business that stores inventory on-site is subject to a premises liability claim. Property owners will often attempt to evade responsibility, but they should be held accountable for your injuries.
Who Pays for Merchandise Injury Accidents Inside Businesses?
In many cases, there will be an argument about who will be on the hook to pay for accidents that occurred at a business.
Liability is often the most hotly contested issue in a premises liability claim. The injuries often speak for themselves, so the biggest argument is usually over who should be held financially responsible for the injuries suffered. No one will blame themselves, and everybody will point the finger at one another.
If a business has liability insurance to cover these types of accidents, the policy will likely cover the costs. Larger corporations understand their risks and are often well insured. However, smaller businesses that do not have adequate insurance may be on the hook themselves.
It is important that your case is well-investigated and researched so you can make sure the responsible party is held financially responsible.
Employees Injured by Falling Merchandise
If you are an employee injured by falling merchandise at your workplace, you are not prevented from making a claim. Employees are more likely to suffer injuries from merchandise accidents simply because of how often they handle and work around store inventory.
As an employee, you may have a case if it can be proven that someone else was responsible for falling merchandise that caused your injuries. You will need to prove that the accident did not occur because of your careless mistake. However, if company safety training was inadequate and led to the accident, the business may be held liable. If you’re out of work because of your injury, then you may be entitled to a workers compensation claim as well as work injury premises liability compensation. A personal injury attorney can explain your best course of action for pursuing a case against your workplace.
How a Merchandise Injury Accident Attorney Can Help
The decision to hire an attorney is an important one. An experienced merchandise injury accident attorney can and should:
- Educate you on the law and how it applies to your case
- Identify the true value and cost of your injury and accident
- Collect strong and necessary evidence to bolster your case
- Properly build a claim to ensure you’re fully compensated
- Effectively communicate with the other parties to seek out an accurate settlement
- Be ready for a trial if it is necessary to win your claim
Your lawyer should be prepared to take on several fronts in a premises liability claim. If you’ve been injured by falling merchandise at a local store, make sure you seek the advice of an experienced merchandise injury accident lawyer.
We can help. Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.