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Falls in Department Stores During the Holiday Season – Beware of Displays

Phil Blackman-Pennsylvania New Jersey Personal Injury LawyerPublished on behalf of Philip Blackman, an experienced personal injury lawyer who has devoted his entire career to helping individuals and families who have been injured due to medical malpractice, car accidents, fall accidents and more. FREE Consultations: 215.925.4451

Each year, it seems stores set out holiday merchandise right after Thanksgiving. This is probably due in large part to the fact that retail stores often report staggering sales in the holiday months. Sales tactics often include elaborate holiday themed displays. From flashing lights to larger than life displays with moving parts, a holiday display can become an accident hazard when not inspected or maintained properly by store management. Learn more about Pennsylvania law and fall down accidents in department stores.

Extension cords are a common tripping hazard when it comes to store displays, and oftentimes, multiple extension cords are used. Especially when not taped down or otherwise covered, extension cords pose a serious tripping hazard. It is a given that shoppers will be paying attention to the displays and merchandise, not the floor.

In addition, holiday decorations which fall onto the floor can also pose a tripping hazard. In fact, if the store fails to maintain the display properly, the display itself could become a tripping hazard.

Pennsylvania Law: Fall Down Accidents Involving Holiday Displays

Under Pennsylvania law, stores can be held liable in a situation when a shopper trips or falls even though they were not paying attention to where they were walking; their eyes were distracted by a merchandising display. However, this isn’t always the case in Pennsylvania.

In ordinary slip and fall or trip and fall cases in Pennsylvania, someone who fails to look where they are walking and falls down will not be able to obtain full recovery for their injuries, or they may be barred from recovering altogether. This is due to Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rule which allows for apportionment of liability in any fall down accident case. Therefore in an ordinary fall down situation where the plaintiff was not looking where they were walking, the plaintiff is likely to be found liable in some way for causing the accident. Liability gets apportioned between the plaintiff and the defendant and accordingly, plaintiff’s recovery is lowered in proportion to his or her fault.

However, where a shopper is distracted by a product display, especially during the holiday season, there is a strong argument that the store should have foreseen that shoppers would be distracted by merchandise displays and therefore, the onus is on the store to account for that when erecting and maintaining the display. Therefore, shoppers who become injured due to a store’s negligence in maintaining a store display may be able to get around Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rule, and obtain full recovery for their injuries.

Related Philadelphia Slip & Fall Down Accident Legal Article: Slip and Fall Accidents at Work in Pennsylvania

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