Big box retail stores have become a staple of consumer culture, offering a vast array of products at lower prices. However, with their vast inventory and high customer footfall, these stores also present unique challenges and risks for shoppers. Customers can face a range of dangers, from cluttered aisles to poorly trained employees and inadequate maintenance.
The following are some of the most common dangers that can cause injuries to big-box store patrons:
- Merchandise falling from shelves or displays — A well-known feature of these stores is the stacking of boxes and other packages on shelves, some of them high and difficult to reach. Boxes can fall when customers try to access them. Accidents can also result when tall piles of boxes are not balanced or secured properly.
- Pallets, trolleys and other aisle obstructions — There are large volumes of goods that need to be moved around the store. Pallets, stock boxes or trolleys full of merchandise left in aisles can cause customers to trip and fall.
- Poorly trained equipment operators — Big box stores often rely on heavy machinery like forklifts to move and rearrange merchandise. But the employees operating this equipment might not be adequately trained or qualified. Forklift collisions or mishandling of merchandise can result in harm to bystanders.
- Spills and unmarked hazards — Spills are a common occurrence in retail environments, whether from merchandise, food or beverages, and they can create slip and fall hazards. Inadequate signage or the failure to promptly clean up spills can result in customers slipping and sustaining injuries, such as sprains, strains or fractures.
- Wet floors and loose debris — Keeping sales floors clean is a constant operation, but mopped floors might be left wet and swept floors might still have loose debris. The risk of a slip and fall is amplified when the area is not promptly marked, or customers are not given adequate warning.
- Poorly maintained exterior areas — The risks to customers in big box retail stores are not limited to the interior. Sidewalks and parking lots with cracks and broken pavement can pose tripping hazards for customers, as can push carts and other obstructions.
If you have been hurt in a big-box store, be certain to take photos of the area of the accident. Make an accident report to the store manager, being careful not to admit any carelessness or wrongdoing on your part. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Then, consult with a premises liability attorney to assess your legal options and determine if you have a valid claim for compensation.
Feinberg & Alban PC in Boston and Brookline aggressively pursues claims on behalf of Massachusetts residents hurt in retail establishments and on other premises. Please call 617-232-5950 or contact us online to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.