Falling Ladder In a Department Store Causes Back Injury...

by Shymain
(Columbus, GA)

My friend was shopping in a department store one day and saw something she needed in one of the aisles. As she approached the item on the shelf, there was a ladder in the general area of the aisle. As she grabbed her item, she slightly bumped the ladder as she turned around to walk away and the ladder tilted and fell on her back.

She did not realize there was any damage until her back began to burn with pain minutes later. Due to the noise of the fallen ladder, an employee immediately came to the aisle to see what happened.

The employee immediately said that the ladder should not have been left unattended in the aisle like that. My friend pulled up her shirt to see why her back was burning with pain and the employee noticed bruises to her skin. He advised her to talk to a manager before leaving the store.

She already has a pre-existing disease with her back and is afraid this will aggravate it. She also visited the emergency room after the accident because her back was in so much pain. Is there anything she can do about this? What if the ladder does aggravate her pre-existing condition? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Falling Ladder In a Department Store Causes Back Injury...":

Shymain (Columbus, GA):

From the facts you present there doesn't seem to be any doubt about the store's negligence. The ladder probably shouldn't have been left unattended. It also seems apparent your friend's back was injured. Pre-existing injures always make settling cases for new personal injuries difficult.

In effect, the store's employee admitted the store's liability for the abandoned ladder. Hopefully the employee is still employed by the store and therefore accessible. Whether the employee filled out some sort of incident report or reported the incident to the supervisor is hard to know. If the employee did, that event will be supportive of your friend's case.

Your friend should contact the store's manager. Remind her of the incident. Tell her you were injured and would like to speak with someone in their company who will have authorization to approve compensation for medical bills and an additional amount for possible pain and suffering. It isn't necessary for your friend to discuss with anyone from the store her pre-existing injury. Certainly if the issue comes up your friend should tell the truth.

If your friend intends to pursue the claim she may run into the roadblocks of "pre-existing injuries". Those types of injuries are always troublesome when negotiating a settlement. The question always is: How much of your friend's injury was pre-existing and how much is new and separate?

Pre-existing injury or not, if your friend incurred medical bills as a result of the ladder falling on her, she should go ahead and at least try to convince the store and its representative to compensate her.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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