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Can You Sue If a Box Falls on You at a Store?

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Shopping at a big box store can be exciting and cheap, but it's all fun and games until a box falls on you.

Anyone who's visited a warehouse store like Costco or Sam's Club can attest that merchandise is packed almost from floor to ceiling, with incredibly heavy items like patio furniture and crates of bulk-rate oatmeal perched high above consumers. It doesn't take much imagination to sketch a scenario in which a box falls and injures a hapless shopper.

So when that shopper happens to be you, can you sue?

Falling Object Injuries Are Common

Don't write off shopping injuries as only accounting for deal hunters who shop 'til they drop; they also include head and body injuries from falling objects like boxes. And it's not just shoppers at risk: A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that in 2005, "contact with objects" had the highest rate of non-fatal injuries for retail employees.

Though this is a broad category, falling boxes certainly are one sort of injurious contact that can cause both employees and customers to be injured.

Stores Can Be Liable for Falling Objects

There are three main ways in which those injured by falling objects can sue the stores in which they were injured:

  • Premises liability. Claiming that the store owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on the property that led to the victim's injury.
  • Negligent training/supervision. Often employees stack boxes unsafely when employers fail to train them in the safe way to store unsold items or supervise them when stacking items incorrectly.
  • Vicarious liability. Even if a falling box injury is caused solely by the negligence of an employee (disregarding training or supervision), as long as the employee was negligent in the scope of his or her employment, an employer can be held liable.

Many of these theories may overlap in dealing with your store injury case, but your personal injury attorney can explain how each can help you recover.

Medical Costs, Lost Wages May Be Included

Depending on the severity of your injury and length of recovery, you may be entitled not only to recover the costs of your medical bills but also lost wages due to your injury. Head and neck injuries from falling objects may require long-term future medical care, to which you may also be entitled.

Don't let big box stores win if you were injured by falling boxes. Let a personal injury attorney review your case for free.

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