The big box retailer term is often synonymous with stores like Home Depot and Walmart. These are large stores that have nearly everything you need. Home Depot is unique because it has taken on a warehouse design for over 2,000 stores. The shelves are stacked high, and there is no end to the warehouse and the sales floor. They are together, which saves stores money on storage space. While it is an exciting shopping experience, it also means a slew of dangers are present.
Shopping is not supposed to be a risky task, but it is when you are at a Home Depot. A warehouse is a dangerous place to store excess inventory and heavy machinery. Forklifts are common since you must use them to move and store inventory. When it comes to Home Depot, all of these dangers are visible to the public and not hidden behind an "employees only" sign. All workers who will use heavy machinery need special training on operational standards. What happens when warehouse shopping meets untrained customers is a tragedy. Contact a Philadelphia Home Depot accident lawyer to review your options after an injury.
In 1998, Home Depot representatives said there were 185 injury claims per week regarding falling merchandise. While the report is from many years ago, it is difficult to find current numbers because Home Depot doesn't release injury numbers for customers as they do for employees. That means customers who enter the store are at a high risk of injury and death. You would assume that there would be changes to how the retailer operates after so many injury reports, but there have not been.
The most significant cause of accidents in Home Depot stores is falling merchandise. With heavy stacking, an opportunity is abundant for these heavy items to fall and injure unsuspecting customers. Known as sky shelves, Home Depot uses them throughout its stores to make the warehouse look full and maximize storage space. Home Depot policy must ensure merchandise is not hanging off the side and is appropriately stacked. They also need to have restraining bars in use. Home Depot and other retailers have a duty to use reasonable measures when available to prevent injury to customers and others who enter the property.
Slip and falls
The most common accident customers face in any store is slip and fall. They can happen anywhere on the property, from inside the store to the parking lot. Home Depot has many hazards that can lead to a slip and fall like:
- Dirty floors
- Slippery surfaces
- Loose wires
- Obstructions in walkways or aisles
- Cracks in the floor
There are many other possible ways for a slip and fall accident in Home Depot.
Forklifts are very dangerous and can cause merchandise falling and other accidents. When there is unsafe forklift use, it leads to injury and death. Employees often move merchandise and when the forklift gives out from the weight or do not have adequate training, an injury occurs. While there must be a barricade around the area where the forklift is in use, there is not always enough space, and merchandise that falls can land outside the safety area.
Forklifts can also run over your feet or cause customers to become trapped. It is also a tripping hazard, especially when they are unattended. The best way to avoid these accidents is to keep forklifts away from the general public. Home Depot is known for having forklifts through the story so employees can lower merchandise for customers. There is a lot of intermingling between these dangerous machines and the general public.
General Premises Liability
While these are typical instances of injury at Home Depot stores, the company is subject to general premise liability law, meaning any injury or accident on the property can result in legal action. By law, Home Depot is responsible for keeping everyone on the property safe from foreseeable harm. Invited guests such as customers have the highest duty of care.
Call a Home Depot Injury Lawyer
Employees require special training to operate in a warehouse, but customers who shop in these warehouse-style spaces do not have any training. They simply look for a particular product and are not on high alert. It is not the customer's responsibility to stay alert and maintain the safety of others; that lies with Home Depot and its associates. After an injury, do not work with Home Depot's insurance company; instead, call Kwartler Manus, LLC, at (267) 214-8608.