A Home Depot customer, who sustained serious injuries in a Marietta store from a piece of wood falling off a folk lift, has been awarded $1.5 million in premises liability damages.
In 2005, Larry Reece was at a Home Depot in Marietta when a pallet of plywood fell about 24 feet on him. Reece suffered serious neck and spinal injuries that left him debilitated, and unable to continue his work as a residential contractor. According to his attorney, he settled with Home Depot over punitive damages, but the case had to go to jury trial over personal injury damages. He has now been awarded $1.5 million in damages, while his wife has been awarded $30,000 for loss of consortium as part of the damages.
Besides the debilitating injuries and the severe pain that he suffered, Reece also had to deal with the high expenses of hospitalization and other medical costs. Since the accident, Reece has racked up about $120,000 in medical expenses.He was required to have permanent hardware in his neck to resume his normal activities. Most traumatic of all, Reece who has been a construction worker all his life, was unable to return to his job. He lost his livelihood, along with the trauma and loss of income that that accompanies.
This isn’t the first time that shoppers have been injured in such accidents at Home Depot. One reason is the store shelves that are stacked high. "Sky shelving" or high stacking may be efficient use of space, but poses a serious risk of injuries from loads toppling over.
Premises owners are required to provide a safe environment to guests, shoppers, visitors, renters and other people on the premises. This can include providing well lit areas, walking surfaces that are free of obstructions and resist slipping, well constructed and illuminated stairways etc. Providing safe premises can also include the responsibility to inspect store shelves, and to ensure that products are not likely to get displaced and fall off the shelves.
It’s not always easy to prove the owner’s liability if you are injured on his premises. Owners can try to wriggle out of liability, raising questions about property ownership, or about whether the risk should have been clear and obvious to you. Even the most open and shut slip and fall claim can have premises owners and their legal teams trying hard to play down their responsibility, and pass it on to you.Besides, there may be more than one party responsible for the safety of the premises, which makes filing a claim more complicated.
That’s why it’s so important to consult with a Georgia premises liability attorney before deciding to file a claim for injury.