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Improperly Stacked Shelves Can Cause Items to Fall on Victims’ Heads


When you go onto store property, and you look out for dangers, it is natural to look down. That is, to look at the ground to see if there are wet spots, objects in the walkways, or anything else that could cause a fall hazard. Many people don’t think to look the other way—upwards. In some cases, the danger comes from above, from items that are improperly stacked or stored, and which often can fall on people’s heads.

Who Has Control?

Unlike dangers on the ground, often, things falling from above us, are in the exclusive control of the store and its employees. Customers can leave water or objects in walkways, but they rarely have access to higher level shelving.

This can actually make a case easier to prove, as the store must have known about the improperly stacked or stored items, given that the store, and only the store and its employees, had access to, or could access, that area.

Why Are They More Dangerous?

Injuries from objects falling from above can be much more serious than traditional fall injuries, for two main reasons.

The first reason is that the first thing that is often hit when items fall from above is the head. That leaves victims vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries, or skull injuries.

The second reason is that the falling object is often not seen, and thus, the victim doesn’t have even those precious split seconds to recognize the danger, try to brace for impact, or try to fall in a way that lessens or mitigates injury, the way the victim would in some traditional slip and fall accidents.

Proving Liability

Proving these kinds of cases can be challenging—but the good news is that because its likely an employee accessed the higher shelving where the item fell from, there is likely some kind of store record showing what employee had the duty to shelve, stock, monitor, or inventory, that particular part of the store.

Additionally, to be liable, the store only has to know that the shelf was stacked the way it was stacked—it doesn’t have to actually know that it was likely that something would fall on a victim’s head.

Additionally, there are experts in warehousing and in the proper maintenance of shelving, who can testify as to how to properly stack shelving. These experts use a mixture of retail expertise, as well as physics, to show that items on a shelf were stacked or stored in such a way that an injury was foreseeable.

Not Just in Stores

Falls from above often happen in retail, shopping stores, but they can come in other areas as well. Any form of construction, whether major, outside construction, or minor repairs going on inside a store, can have construction tools and items that are improperly stacked.

Call the Knoxville premises liability attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for help today if you have been injured by any kind of item falling on you from above, whether inside of a store, or anywhere else.




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