If you’re shopping at a big box store, it’s likely that merchandise will be stocked so high that it looks like it’s touching the building’s 20 or 30 foot ceiling. The reason that they operate in this manner is that it’s less expensive for the retailer to store merchandise in their stores rather than in warehouses that are miles away and require products to be trucked and stored yet another time.
Inventory in nearly all big box stores is stacked vertically rather than horizontally, and at least some of the savings are passed to the customer. What comes to issue is that in this type of a retail and warehousing plan, falling prices translate into falling merchandise, and when a customer is hit and injured by falling merchandise, it’s rarely the injured customer’s fault. Here are some examples of the causes of falling merchandise accidents in and around Phoenix:
- With vertical stacking, customers often need to climb or use a ladder for purposes of retrieving products. They don’t care about how unsafe that they might leave a stack once they return to the floor safely.
- Big box stores often fail to give customers adequate warning about the possibility of falling merchandise. If stacked merchandise is being stocked, removed or replaced, the work area should be cordoned off and have sufficient signage in order to keep customers out of the zone of danger. That should include the aisle next to the work aisle in order to help prevent merchandise being pushed through and falling onto a customer that next aisle.
- Inadequate training and supervision of employees can leave products stacked in an unstable manner with larger and heavier products being stored on smaller and lighter products.
The Merchant’s Duty
Premises liability law in Arizona requires a business to maintain the premises that it owns or occupies in a reasonably safe condition for its customers. If that owner or occupier of the commercial property fails to do so, and a customer is injured or even killed as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, that business can be held liable for damages.
If you were injured by falling merchandise in a business anywhere in or around Phoenix, make a report with the store manager, seek medical attention and call us right away. We’ll arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation with our experienced Phoenix premises liability attorney from our offices.