One customer at a Costco in Brookfield in central New York state suffered a life-altering shopping injury as he reached overhead for some paper towels. The display of towels was stacked more than seven feet high, and as the shopper tried to grab a package to place in his cart, a steel pipe that was 40 inches long and three inches in diameter hit him above his left eye.
As a result, the 62-year-old shopper suffered irreversible brain damage, migraines, short-term memory loss, a concussion, light and noise sensitivities, muscle and nerve damage to the area surrounding his left eye and face, loss of neurological dexterity to the left hand and behavioral and mood changes.
The North Salem resident filed a premises liability lawsuit against the big box chain, alleging the store had allowed defective, unsafe or dangerous conditions to develop or exist. He's seeking more than $75,000 in damages for pain and suffering, lost work and the cost of his medical bills.
Costco's policy is not to comment on pending lawsuits. However, to defend against the lawsuit, the retailer must prove that it met its duty of care to provide invited customers a safe self-service environment. Costco must convince the court that they "exercised reasonable care" in maintaining the premises free of dangerous and unsafe conditions.
A bone of contention will likely be that stacking items over seven feet high for customers to retrieve is unreasonably dangerous and exposes them to harm. Then, too, they will need to explain why a steel rod was apparently left on top of the paper towel display.
If you get injured while shopping, you may also have a viable premises liability claim that could result in compensation from the at-fault retailer.