Family Dollar is in 46 of the 50 United States. It’s a variety discount store that is a corporate subsidiary of Dollar Tree. Family Dollar stores sell about $10.5 billion of clothing, home decorations, cleaning supplies and food every year. The company employs more than 60,000 employees at about 8,000 locations. Of course, most of those employees are only part-time. Given the close corporate association between Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, it has been reported that some Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores have opened not only in the same shopping plaza, but next door to each other too.
The Duty to Inspect
The business model of Family Dollar is substantially similar to other variety discount stores. They keep labor costs minimal and pack as much merchandise into a small space as possible. In California, retail merchandisers like Family Dollar have a legal duty to maintain a store in a reasonably safe condition and free from hazards that might injure customers. That duty includes periodic inspections of the premises for purposes of determining whether any hazardous conditions exist. If one is found, the public must be warned of it until such time as the condition is repaired or remedied. If there is a failure to warn of a hazard and a failure to repair or remedy it, liability could attach if a customer is injured by it.
Three Common Hazards
When a store is packed with racks and displays, aisles become mere pathways that can be difficult to walk through. That leads to tripping hazards. Damaged containers might also cause liquids to leak out and collect on floors. Those leaks lead to slipping hazards. Merchandise is also often stacked high above aisles, and when it falls, it can fall on customers’ heads and cause traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
What to Do and Not Do
If you suffered injuries from an accident at a Family Dollar store in or around Los Angeles, you need to protect your rights from the beginning. That’s done by collecting evidence. Here’s how you do that:
- Have the manager on duty notified of the accident, and make sure that an accident report is completed. Ask for a copy of that report.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. Don’t be afraid of asking the store personnel to call for an ambulance.
- If you were shopping with somebody else, ask him or her to take photos of the location of your fall and the condition that caused it.
- Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Don’t give a recorded statement of any kind to anybody else from Family Dollar. California law doesn’t require you to do that. Politely refuse.
If you bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit against Family Dollar, expect to be confronted with one or more defenses. The most common defense is that the store had no notice that the hazardous condition had been created. It will then add that you simply weren’t watching where you were going. Some cases are defended on the allegation that the injured claimant was in a part of the store where he or she should not have been in like a storage area. Family Dollar uses other defense tactics that non-lawyers are wholly unfamiliar with like removal of state court cases to federal court.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffered serious injuries after a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall at a Family Dollar store, here are a few things that you might want to do to help any case that you might have.
- Immediately report the accident to employees and management.
- Get immediate medical help.
- Obtain witness contact information.
- If possible, obtain photographs of the condition and the exact spot where you fell.
Contact us after an injury at any Los Angeles area retail store.