Some unsafe conditions New Jersey supermarket shoppers may not easily detect include slippery floors, unstable merchandise displays and objects falling from shelves. Without a clearly visible warning, stores may incur liability when their employees neglect to protect shoppers or alert them to the dangers of such risks.
Properly placed warnings may enable shoppers to avoid a slip-and-fall hazard. When an employee cordons off a wet area with orange cones, he or she provides shoppers with a reasonable warning to exercise caution or stay clear.
Falling on a slippery floor or spilled items
Hazards a shopper might not easily notice, such as slippery floors or hard-to-see spilled items, may cause injuries requiring lifelong medical treatment. As reported by NJ.com, a 55-year-old shopper sued a store for permanent and serious injuries she sustained after slipping on spilled string beans.
The beans had fallen onto the floor from self-serve bins that shoppers used to select fresh produce. Because employees should have foreseen the possibility of an accident from spilled produce, the store owed a duty of care to clean-up the beans. By breaching a duty and leaving slippery produce on the floor, the court found the store’s owner liable for the shopper’s medical expenses and loss of income.
Getting hurt by a collapsing merchandise display or falling objects
Product manufacturers often load grocery store aisles with intrusive merchandise displays. Some may pose a risk of injury if a shopper must climb over one to reach a product from a blocked shelf.
A store’s owner may have liability for injuries if a merchandise display tips over and harms a shopper. Falling objects caused by poorly shelved or improperly stacked items may also give a harmed shopper cause to seek compensation.