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Customer Injuries Caused by Hazardous Retail Store Conditions

Attorney Mark Rufo PC

To prevent customer injuries, retail store owners and their employees owe a duty of care to maintain their shopping areas and prevent hazardous conditions from forming. As noted by, inspecting a store’s premises for clutter, spills and scattered boxes can reduce the risks of customers slipping or falling.

Poor lighting may also contribute to an unsafe environment; customers may not see merchandise racks or product display cases in their way. Unkempt flooring such as cracks in the ground or rips in a carpet may lead to a customer tripping and sustaining severe injuries.

Pallets pose a high risk of danger to customers

As reported by Pallet Enterprise, store employees may use plastic or wooden pallets to build merchandise displays, which poses a risk of dangerous conditions. Between 2014 and 2018, more than 30,000 individuals received emergency medical treatment because of in-store or at-home accidents involving a pallet.

According to research conducted by two university professors, a significant number of shoppers who sustained in-store injuries came in close contact with a pallet. More than 50% of those injured shoppers reportedly tripped on an empty pallet left on the floor in a shopping area.

Injured customers may file a lawsuit over an employee’s negligence

Employees owe a duty of care to monitor a store for possible hazards and correct them when found. Removing loose and empty pallets from the shopping floor may, however, require training store employees to remain consistent in clearing them from the aisles.

The risk of pallets creating a hazardous condition — like many other in-store issues — is foreseeable, and owners, managers and employees owe a duty to reduce the potential for accidents. Business owners may incur severe liabilities for otherwise preventable in-store injuries. An injured shopper may sue for damages that could include pain and suffering, medical costs and lost time from work.