Have you been injured by falling merchandise at a store in Houston, TX?
You may be entitled to compensation through a premises liability claim. An experienced Houston falling merchandise injury lawyer can help you seek the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., is here to help with decades of experience representing injury victims.
Contact our Houston law firm today to schedule a free consultation to learn more.
How Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., Can Help with a Falling Merchandise Injury Claim
When you are injured on someone else’s property, they can be held responsible for your injuries if they were negligent. Texas has strict premises liability laws, but proving your claim isn’t always easy. The store owner may claim that other customers moved merchandise and made it unstable and thus they are not liable.
They may even downplay the severity of your injuries or blame you for your accident. When you are faced with serious injuries, you deserve an advocate on your side to protect your rights and fight for you. An experienced Houston personal injury lawyer can level the playing field and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., has more than 45 years of experience representing injury victims against large insurance companies and property owners. We are committed to giving clients aggressive representation and fighting for their best interests.
When you hire Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., you can count on our Houston falling merchandise injury lawyers to:
- Perform an in-depth investigation into your accident
- Gather evidence such as violations, complaints, safety records, inspection reports, and witness statements to strengthen your case
- Consult with specialists and experts
- Handle all communication with the insurance company and interested parties
- Negotiate on your behalf to seek a fair settlement offer
- Represent you in court if a fair settlement can’t be reached
You do not have to fight the insurance company on your own. Call our Houston personal injury law firm today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.
Houston Store Liability for Falling Merchandise
Texas law requires property owners and managers maintain a property that is safe and free of hazards under premises liability law. When property owners fail to do so, they may be held liable when guests and visitors are hurt.
However, Texas law does not hold property owners liable for all injuries and accidents that occur on their property. They are only held liable when their negligence related to the property’s security, repair, or maintenance causes someone to get hurt.
The amount of care a Houston property owner must exercise to protect guests from hazards and avoid liability depends on the classification of the visitor:
- Invitees are those who are invited to the premises for a business purpose. This includes customers visiting a store. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions and hazards.
- Licensees are those invited to the premises for a social purpose with no monetary or business benefit for the property owner. Owners have a duty to warn licensees about known hazards but no responsibility to inspect the premises to discover hazards.
- Trespassers enter the premises without the property owner’s permission or consent. Owners are usually only liable for a trespasser’s injuries if they were caused through gross neglect, willfully, or wantonly.
Under premises liability law, a merchant has a duty to make sure aisles and public areas of a store are reasonably safe for visitors to prevent injury. This also means that shelves should be stocked in a way that items will not fall on customers.
While other customers may move and handle merchandise, even on high shelves, store owners and operators should generally anticipate this. Active measures should be taken to prevent merchandise from falling including regularly checking shelves to make sure merchandise is safe and secure.
When you are visiting a store, you are typically owed the highest duty of care. The store owner may be held legally liable for your injuries caused by falling merchandise.
Causes of Falling Merchandise in Houston, TX
Falling merchandise can be dangerous and occur in many types of stores including department stores, warehouse stores, and grocery stores. There are many factors that contribute to these accidents. Some of the most common reasons merchandise falls include:
- Inadequate training. If store employees are not trained properly, they may not know safe stacking methods or fail to recognize fall hazards. They may also use unsafe practices when attempting to move merchandise from a high shelf for a customer.
- Unsecure items. While most merchants do not use any type of physical restraining system to keep items secure on high shelves, this may be advised for some types of merchandise prone to falling.
- High stacking. Sometimes items are stacked 15 feet or higher above the floor. When items are stacked too high, particularly heavy items, a fall can be very serious.
- Inadequate warning. Merchandise that falls without warning can be shocking to customers who are not expecting it. Sometimes warnings are appropriate so customers can be aware that merchandise may fall if they reach for items on high shelves.
To prevent falling merchandise, store owners can take many steps including adequate training, securing merchandise, restricting stacking when shoppers are nearby, and periodically inspecting shelves.
Common Injuries from Falling Merchandise in Houston
It isn’t known how many people are hurt by falling merchandise every year, although there are rough estimates at some major retailers.
While falling merchandise may sometimes be lightweight objects like pillows or paper towels, heavy merchandise like lumber, soda cans, and TVs can cause serious and even fatal injuries.
Injuries that may result from a falling merchandise accident include:
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Lacerations and bruises
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
Over the last 20 years, thousands of injuries have resulted from falling merchandise when objects are dislodged or knocked off high shelves. According to a Los Angeles Times report, these injuries are exceptionally common at major retailers that use sky shelves to stack merchandise in pallets from floor to ceiling. The report noted court records in which Walmart conceded that falling merchandise was cited in 7,000 employee injuries and 26,000 customer injury claims in just six years.
Damages Available in a Falling Merchandise Injury Claim
If you are successful in your personal injury claim, you may be entitled to recover a broad range of economic and non-economic damages for your injuries. While financial compensation can’t erase the pain you have endured, it can be used to cover your expenses and prevent the financial uncertainty you may be facing otherwise.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to the following types of damages for a falling merchandise injury:
- Medical expenses. This includes current and anticipated future medical bills related to your accident. Medical expenses such as surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, medical devices, and prescriptions can all be compensated.
- Lost wages for time you needed to take off work while recovering.
- Reduced future earning capacity if you are left disabled.
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Your falling merchandise injury lawyer in Houston can help you understand what your claim may be worth and the types of damages you may be entitled to.
Statute of Limitations for a Falling Merchandise Claim in Texas
After an accident, it’s important to remember that you are subject to a statute of limitations in Texas that limits the time you have to bring a personal injury claim. With premises liability claims, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim. If you miss this deadline, you lose your legal right to seek compensation.
This may sound like a long time but delaying your claim can make it harder to prove liability and the extent of your injuries. This can weaken your claim. Contact a Houston falling merchandise liability lawyer as soon as possible to protect your claim and begin pursuing the fair compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Houston Falling Merchandise Injury Lawyer
Have you been injured in a falling merchandise accident in Houston? The financial burden of your injuries should not be on you when the store owner’s negligence caused your accident. Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., is here to help you seek full compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with a Houston falling merchandise injury lawyer who can help you.