Sam Harding Law Firm

Falling Merchandise Lawyers & Premises Liability in Las Vegas and all of Nevada. Call The Sam Harding Law Firm: 702-333-7777

Home Personal Injury Falling Merchandise Negligence in Falling Merchandise Cases

Comparative and Contributory Negligence in Falling Merchandise Cases

Las Vegas Falling Merchandise

Defendants in these cases often try to blame the customer. They argue the danger was "obvious" and the plaintiff was negligent for not watching for falling merchandise, for not being aware of the danger of high stacking, for not avoiding an aisle where merchandise was being stocked, or for reaching for merchandise on a high shelf and not asking for help.

In Stone v. Kmart Corp., the plaintiff was injured when an employee dropped merchandise onto the plaintiff's head. Kmart's only evidence of comparative negligence was that the plaintiff should not have been in the area when she saw an employee on a ladder stocking merchandise. The trial court refused Kmart's request for a comparative negligence instruction.

The court weighed the risk involved and the foreseeability and likelihood of injury against the social utility of the customers' conduct, the magnitude of the burden of guarding against injury or harm, and the consequences of placing the burden on the merchant.39 It ultimately held that the customer does not bear the burden to foresee the possibility that merchandise may fall. The court distinguished a falling merchandise case from a slip and fall case, where a rainfall, melting snow, ice, or water on a floor places a plaintiff on heightened safety awareness.

The court recognized that placing the burden on the customer to guard against falling merchandise is inappropriate. "[I]f one took it to its logical extreme, everyone would have to take a crash course . . . in taking care. You'd have to wear safety helmets indoors."40 The trial court refused to instruct the jury that the plaintiff simply should not have been in the aisle. Under the circumstances, it said, the merchant, rather than the customer, best bears the burden to guard against and prevent falling merchandise.

The Ninth Circuit also addressed this issue in Shafer. It ruled that evidence that merchandise had fallen and injured customers, suggesting that Wal Mart knew its stacking methods posed a risk of harm and failed to minimize that risk, negated Wal Mart's position that the only likely explanation for the incident was plaintiff's mishandling of the boxes or shelves.

At Sam Harding Law Firm, we understand the problems suffered by people who have sustained injuries from falling merchandise. We know that insurance companies often try to take advantage of unrepresented clients. We work hard for our clients to get them the money they deserve without their having to go to court. We work to get medical bills, lost income and money for pain and suffering. However, should your case require litigation, we are prepared to take your case to court. We are an ABOTA and AV rated Martindale Hubbel law firm.

Sam Harding Law Firm, your Las Vegas, Nevada falling merchandise attorney, wants you to be informed about falling merchandise cases in Nevada.


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Sam Harding


Sam Harding
Caring, Dedicated and Committed to Justice

Since 1975, Mr. Harding has practiced in the area of personal injury litigation in Nevada. He has represented clients in personal injury cases including but not limited to wrongful death cases, brain injury cases, product liability cases, automobile accident cases, aircraft crash cases, dog bite cases, slip and fall cases, nursing home abuse cases and defamation cases.


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About Sam Harding

Mr. Harding is a member of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association. He has been lead trial counsel in over one hundred jury trials. Mr. Harding is a member of ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocacy). Mr. Harding is an AV rated attorney in Martindale-Hubble.

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For over three decades The Sam Harding Law Firm has been helping victims of serious injury in Nevada. From nursing home abuse and neglect to serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injuries and more. Let Sam Harding go to work for you. We handle all cases on a personal level. We are caring, dedicated and committed to justice.

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Sam Harding Law Firm

500 South 8th Street

Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

tel 702.333.7777 fax 702.384.5731