Visitor Question

Injured ankle on metal clothing rack…

Submitted By: Donna (Lancaster, CA)

I was injured inside a department store when I went into the dressing room to try on clothing. The woman gave me a pass to go into the rooms, she was standing there chatting with a woman and a child who she clearly knew. There was a 6’x 8′ heavy metal clothing rack that is usually standing in front of a wall but for some reason she had it standing in the isle where the worker and her friends were talking.

I tried to step around them to get to the dressing room and hit my ankle on the bottom corner of the metal rack. It hurt like the dickens. The worker continued talking to her friends like nothing was wrong, but other customers asked me if I was ok.

I walked back to the clothing room, in pretty good pain whenever I would put my weight down on the ankle. I contacted the store manager before I left and let her know what happened, they took a report.

This was 3 weeks ago. My ankle swelled up and bruised quite a bit. I went to my doctor the next morning and he said just keep ice on it and elevate the leg, and gave me an ace bandage. Is the department store at fault, should I sue or is this my own clumsy fault?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Donna,

Your injury is certainly not your fault. The department store is clearly liable for your ankle injury. You shouldn’t feel you were “clumsy.” Clumsy or not, the department store should not have permitted the clothing rack to be in a position where it could injure a customer.

Fortunately your ankle injury isn’t more serious. While it is must be painful, it doesn’t seem to be much worse than it already is. The department store should be responsible for your medical bills and out of pocket expenses for medications, and even the costs of parking at your doctor’s office.

If you have to miss any work the store should also be responsible for your lost wages. While you certainly have a legitimate right to demand an additional amount for pain and suffering, the amount won’t be very much.

Contact the store’s manager as soon as possible. Explain what happened and present the manager with your medical bills, receipts for out of pocket expenses, and a written verification from your employer for any lost wages.

Ask to have the store’s insurance company contact you to settle your claim. If the store won’t cooperate you can always consider filing a small claims action. Under the circumstances, that may be more than you really want to do.

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

Best of luck,

Published: July 26, 2013

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