Anything extraordinary – super, hyper or bigger – keeps consumers hooked. Big box stores, like Walmart, Ikea, Target and Costco, are physically enormous establishments offering a unique shopping experience through an extensive range of products available in bulk at affordable prices.
But the massive space these big box stores occupy also exposes consumers to innumerable safety risks. What you thought would be a harmless errand may quickly escalate into a personal injury case against your favorite one-stop shop giant.
Common hazards in big box stores
New Mexico’s comparative negligence system means if you are partially to blame for the accident, the damages you can receive will reduce depending on the percentage of your fault. For example, if you mindlessly walk around the store while busy with your phone, causing you to trip over a loose tile, you may be 10% responsible and only receive 90% of the total compensation.
So, the next time you shop, you must watch out for the following threats:
- Wet and worn-out floors without nonslip floor mats, especially in sections containing flowers, and fruit or vegetable produce
- Overstocked or haphazardly stacked goods, which may fall from towering shelves
- Overcrowding during special discounted days
- Poorly maintained parking lots, especially during the winter season covering pavements with slippery ice and snow
Store owners have a duty to provide a safe shopping environment to their customers, and one of the ways to do this is to properly train and supervise their staff. If, despite adequate training, a staff member is still negligent, endangering a customer in the process, the store may still hold liability.
Further, aside from consumers, big box retail workers are equally susceptible to fatal accidents. Given the inherently fast-paced nature of the wholesale and retail trade industry, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends the strict adherence of employers to safety guidelines. An example is measuring the resistance to friction between the floor and a worker’s shoes.
Your case may not be as straightforward as it seems. There may be more than one liable party, especially if the property owner is different from the business owner. The more entities become involved, the more complex your case becomes. It will be wise to address these concerns with the guidance of a legal representative.