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Walmart held accountable to man hurt by falling display

Supermarkets like to display merchandise in ways that maximize efficiency while catching the customer’s eye. But sometimes storekeepers will set up displays without thinking through all the safety issues.

When this happens, unsuspecting customers can get hurt. If you or someone close to you has been injured as a result of a store’s negligence in displaying items, you may be able to hold the store accountable for your harm. Just make sure you see a personal jury attorney quickly before you lose important rights, as a North Carolina case demonstrates.

In that case, John Cain was shopping for dog food at a Walmart. The store had laid out two piles of 50-pound bags. One pile was stacked seven feet high, while the other was much shorter. When Cain bent over to pick up a bag from the shorter pile, several bags toppled off the taller pile, knocking him to the floor.

He was treated at the hospital and released that day, but once he got home he was unable to get out of bed for the next three weeks. Before his injury he had been very active, but after the injury he stopped all physical activity.

Cain didn’t see a lawyer until shortly before the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and he apparently received limited treatment before that. But once his case against Walmart was filed, he was diagnosed with a back injury that would keep him from lifting more than five pounds and would cause him permanent physical pain.

Walmart initially claimed Cain was not careful enough in picking up the bag, so the injuries were his own fault, but it dropped that defense before trial and admitted responsibility. The only issue at trial was how much compensation Cain was owed.

Relying on video surveillance footage of the incident and testimony from Cain’s children as to how much their lives had been impacted by their father’s injuries, a jury decided on a large damage award, nearly five times the amount of Walmart’s highest pre-trial settlement offer.

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