Shopper Suffers Multiple Injuries from Falling Boxes

Retail Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves a patron who sustained a number of serious injuries when multiple boxes of lawn furniture fell on his head while shopping at a big box warehouse-style retailer. At the time of the incident, the man was shopping for a new grill, and was perusing a number of different models that had been placed on the ground floor of an aisle. At some point, the Plaintiff was attempting to load a box containing a grill into his cart when, suddenly and without warning, a number of boxes located on a higher shelf fell on top of him. The Plaintiff suffered a number of permanent injuries as a result of the accident, and will require a lifetime of ongoing care. It was alleged that the boxes on the higher shelf were not stacked properly, posing a danger to shoppers.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have familiarity with the subject matter described above?
  • 2. Have you ever published or lectured on this subject / issue?
  • 3. What could have been done differently to avoid the accident in question?

Expert Witness Response E-004539

My own experience with pallet type racks is extensive and I have conducted webinars and seminars for the retail industry addressing related safety issues. This incident likely could have been avoided with the use of bracing, strapping or edge-of-self stops, all of which are commonly used to prevent a sloping display presentation from turning into the scene of an accident. I actually have prior experience designing vendor displays for a competing retailer which included designing, manufacturing, and installation of the display onto pallet racks. From the brief description provided above, there appears to be significant liability on the part of the retailer, which would be relatively straightforward to document and illustrate.


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