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May 14th, 2014

PA Store Liability Law – Is the store liable for falling merchandise?

Question: I was hit in the head by merchandise that fell off the shelf at a store in Philadelphia. Is the store liable?

Answer: Under Pennsylvania accident law, retail stores can be held liable when customers are injured by merchandise falling from shelves. However, the key is proving that the store’s negligent conduct must have led to the accident. Specifically, there must be evidence that the store either 1. had direct knowledge of the danger at some time before the accident happened, or 2. should have known about it, but negligently failed to discover the problem. Learn more about proving negligence in a store accident case in Pennsylvania.

Negligence in a Store Merchandise Injury Accident

Before filing a lawsuit, the case must be investigated to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed. This usually involves investigating how the accident happened and investigating whether the plaintiff (injured party) can prove that the store’s negligent conduct caused or otherwise contributed to the accident.

More: Investigating a Merchandise Injury Accident at a Store in Philadelphia

In a store injury accident, such as one in which merchandise falls from a shelf, the reason the merchandise fell must be determined. Merchandise accidents tend to occur due to issues such as improperly stocked merchandise or shelf defects.  If a shelf defect caused merchandise to fall off a shelf and strike a customer, businesses in addition to the store may be held liable, such as the company which manufactured the shelf or the company which was hired to assemble the shelf.

The key is proper and prompt investigation. Incident or accident reports, emergency responder reports, and video surveillance are very important pieces of evidence which can help an accident lawyer reconstruct how the accident happened. In addition, the shelf itself may need to be analyzed to determine whether the shelf was defective or otherwise improperly assembled. Therefore, in some cases, the lawyer may seek to gain access to the shelf to have it analyzed by an appropriate mechanical expert.

Related: Fall Down Accidents-Slip and Fall, Trip and Fall Cases in Pennsylvania (Part One)

Brain Injuries in Store Accident Cases

Head or brain injuries are potentially devastating injuries which must be evaluated by an appropriate medical doctor. If you suffered a head or brain injury, you should talk to your medical doctor if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms which do not get better over time. Read more about brain injury accident cases.

DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.