Premises Liability—Injuries at Big Box Stores

Over a million people get hurt at stores and restaurants every year. Most of these injuries are the result of falls. Some are slip and falls. Some are trip and falls. A subset of injuries involve falling merchandise.

Most injuries at big box stores are preventable with a little common sense. There are a host of voluntary safety standards. Unfortunately many retailers ignore these safety standards.

A person that goes to a big box store to shop is an “invitee”. Both owners and occupiers of a premises (e.g. a retail tenant) owe to an invitee a duty to exercise ordinary care for his or her safety. This includes (a) a duty to use reasonable care to maintain the premises so that it is reasonably safe; (b) a duty to warn about dangerous conditions; (c) a duty to inspect for dangerous conditions; and (d) a duty to protect invitees against dangers of which it was aware or should have been aware.

We just wrapped up a premise liability against one of the Big Box Stores. It mis-stacked a display of cooking oil. One of the boxes fell on our client and injured her legs. She required skin grafts.

We hired an expert in retail practices. Even though he was expensive, we thought it was worth it to really show how the display was improperly configured.

Once the Big Box Store received his report the momentum shifted. We ended up settling the case for $800,000. For our 80 year old client that’s life-changing money.

The key to big results against Big Box Stores is pretty simple:

1. Request store video right away.

2. Identify key liability and damage issues.

3. Hire the right experts.

4. Stay one step ahead of the Big Box Store.

5. Create risk.

It’s a simple and effective formula.

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