Supermarket Industry Expert Opines on Trip and Fall Resulting in Permanent Injury

    Retail Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves an elderly man who was seriously and permanently injured while shopping in the produce section of his local supermarket. The man was navigating the produce section when he came across a large cart that had been stacked with boxes to a height of approximately five feet. As he walked to one side of the cart he suddenly tripped on a box that had been left on the floor to the left side of the cart, landing face-first on the floor. As a result of the fall, the man suffered broken bones in his face, a large laceration on his forehead, as well as a traumatic brain injury that has impacted his ability to live on his own and care for himself. The supermarket did not dispute that the box and the cart had been left there unattended by supermarket staff.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please explain your experience in the supermarket industry?
    • 2. Are you familiar with the proper protocols and industry standards for stacking boxes?

    Expert Witness Response E-004539

    The retailer is required to provide a “relatively safe environment for its guests (or customers).” There are several factors that will substantiate that the retailer failed to provide a safe, non-hazardous shopping venue. Generally, determining what these factors are requires an expert to examine each and every condition at the scene of the accident including: Display construction, usage, method of merchandising, aisle widths, floor condition, lighting in the area, store policy and protocol, and actual procedure for inspecting the store on a 15 minute to 30 minute basis. My belief is that, all too often, store managers or department managers, in an attempt to increase sales, take the liberty to violate local building code regulations as well as ADA Standards to reclaim space for selling, which could possibly be the case here. My guess is that there might have been a shopping cart in use by the customer at the time, which also could have been faulty and should be examined.

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