Visitor Question

Treatment for infection from splinter at hardware store?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Buffalo, Texas)

I was in Lowe’s Hardware in Palestine Texas. I purchased three pieces of lumber and carried them to the counter to check out. As I was checking out I picked up the pieces of wood and got a splinter in my ring finger on my left hand. The cashier asked me if I needed a pair of tweezers to remove the splinter, I told him no it was in too deep.

Thinking that it would not get infected I went on about my way that Sunday. Starting Monday morning I could tell it was getting infected, and by Monday evening at 7 p.m. it was swollen badly. Tuesday morning before I got up for work I noticed my left hand was hurting badly, the infection is among my whole hand. I cannot use my left hand hardly to do anything. Now it is Thursday. I think it may be a staph infection. What can I do?

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 Anonymous,

Seek immediate medical attention. Waiting to be treated while seeking legal advice is not only dangerous to your health, but will adversely affect any personal injury claim you may have against the Lowe’s Corporation.

The next consideration is the liability of the retail store for your injury and resulting infection. There are two scenarios to consider:

First: Is there a legal requirement for Lowe’s to package raw lumber before its sale? If so, Lowe’s failure to package the wood would be evidence of negligence. In that case, they might be liable for your possible staph infection and resulting medical bills. We were unable to locate any laws requiring Lowe’s to package their lumber before its sale to the public.

Second: Absent a legal requirement to package the wood, would it have been reasonable for Lowe’s to have packaged the wood so as not to injure customers who purchase the wood? Probably not. It would be a practical impossibility for Lowe’s to have to package every piece of lumber sold.

It is reasonable to assume customers who purchase lumber from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or other commercial establishments know the lumber is in its raw condition and may have splinters. In a way, it is reasonable to state customers who purchase raw lumber know, or should know that handling lumber has the potential to cause splinters. It is fair to say customers “assume the risk” of splinters when they purchase and handle raw lumber.

Based on the facts, Lowe’s does not appear to be liable for your injuries.

Learn more here: Retail Store Injury Claims

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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