Couple Files Negligence Lawsuit For A Department Store Fall

A giant in the multi-brand retail business, Macy’s remains an iconic shopping experience for most people who love the idea of getting everything they need under one roof. The blockbuster sales are a hit with many people who form queues outside the store around Thanksgiving and Christmas. But what happens if you experience a slip and fall accident in a store like Macy’s? Do you expect to win a lawsuit against this department store giant?

Macy's department store

Macy’s and similar department stores can prove to be hazardous when property owners are careless with their maintenance. When you’re a victim of a slip and fall accident, you will need to assess whether this is a case you can actually win.

Wallingford Couple Sues Macy’s For Department Store Accident

A couple from Wallingford sued Macy’s citing negligence for a slip and fall injury suffered by the wife, which was initially filed on April 6, 2015, in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. This case was then moved to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s U.S. District Court.

In the complaint, the couple stated that Eleanor Houck, the plaintiff, was shopping at Macy’s located in the Springfield Mall in Springfield Township on February 14, 2013, when a hard-crumbled, rippled rubber floor mat caused her right foot to get caught, and as a result, she tripped and fell forward on the rug or mat. She fell face first, which caused serious and permanent injuries, some of which included:

  • Facial injuries
  • Left interior orbital bone blowout fracture, along with left orbital fat herniation into the fracture defect
  • Nerve injuries and oral cavities
  • Left elbow injuries
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis located at the L4-L5 lumbosacral area (recurrent)
  • Depression
  • Lumbosacral neuritis
  • Right foot and bilateral leg injury
  • Insomnia and anxiety disorder
  • Massive facial swelling and around left eye
  • Extensive disfigurement and facial bruising


For negligence charges, the couple sought over $50,000, plus interest, counsel fees, expenses, costs and delay damages. With the total costs going well above the limit of the state’s court, this case was then transferred to the federal court. The settlement conference occurred on February 27 and was administered by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey. While the final settlement amount was agreed upon, it was not made known.

In another case, Debra Collard’s right foot got stuck in the carpets as she was leaving a Macy’s department store at the Clackamas Town Center, which resulted in her fall. She injured her left knee and was seeking $103,581 in damages. Collard who was 57 when the accident occurred in February 2013 claims negligence on the part of the retailer in her petition to the Clackamas County Circuit Court.

She fell where the floor moved from carpeting to concrete. The lawsuit claims that the retailer failed to warn about the dangers of this ‘slipping hazard’ and did nothing about it.

How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur In Stores?

Large department stores like Macy’s serve a large number of people on a daily basis. The increased foot traffic around particular times can make the chance of a slip and fall accident even higher.

While employees are responsible for managing safe floors and preventing hazards, often this aspect is given second priority and negligence takes precedence in favor of other more profit-making areas. There’s also a strong possibility that understaffed stores are more negligent than others when it comes to keeping floors safe and secure.

People who fall at Macy’s or any other similar department store can suffer from different types of injuries. Some can be life threatening, while others can be minor. Either way, it’s worth understanding how a slip and fall accident at Macy’s can affect you. Much like the above-mentioned case, injuries from such a fall can lead to:

  • Suffering from external or internal head injuries
  • Dealing with broken backs and/or neck pain and injuries
  • Suffering from blows to your elbows and wrists
  • Tailbone injuries and broken hips
  • Broken ankles and injured feet
  • Knee injuries

Every person suffers from different injury intensities depending on the kind of fall they experienced, which means that their lives can be affected in different ways. Sometimes proving these instances is easier than others. Unfortunately, every case and store is different, so you need to assess your own situation before taking action. Some slip and fall accidents that you can claim against Macy’s include:

  • Cleaning floors with slippery materials and failing to cordon off the area or post signs indicating recent mopping
  • Leaving unsecured displays along pathways and other unexpected areas
  • Letting potholes sit in the parking lot unattended even after being informed by other customers of the situation
  • Failure to fix or replace torn and frayed carpets
  • Leaving icy build-ups as is in parking lots during winters
  • Leaving spills from customers unattended for long periods of time
  • Failure to fix chips and cracks in broken staircases
  • Unmonitored wet floors in restroom areas for extended periods of time

Shopping mall

How To Prove Your Case Against Large Retailers?

Large department stores can be challenging to go up against, but if you feel that your accident was caused due to negligence, then certain quick thinking actions will help you in your case. The success of your lawsuit against Macy’s and other department stores and or large retailers will depend on a myriad of factors. Here are some questions to have answers for when this type of accident happens.

What Caused Your Accident?

You must be able to prove that Macy’s was legally at fault or liable in your goal to seek compensation from the company. For instance, if you slipped in an area that was known to be a high risk then you may be able to prove that Macy’s was responsible, which will yield greater success.

What Kind Of Injuries Have You Suffered From?

You can only file a lawsuit if you have been hurt or injured, whether it is in the form of medical bills due to physical injuries, for any pain and suffering, for future medical expenses and for lost wages because of your inability to work. In many cases, you may also be able to claim future payment compensation for your inability to perform certain tasks as a result of the injuries suffered.

Are You Within Your Statute Of Limitations?

Filing a slip and fall lawsuit is possible, but it must be undertaken within a certain time limit or else you may lose your legal rights. In states like Pennsylvania, the deadline for submitting your claim is barely two years. You will also need to act as quickly as possible to ensure you have sufficient evidence to support your lawsuit.

Do You Have Enough Evidence To Prove Fault?

Evidence is a key factor when proving your slip and fall claim against a department store. A picture speaks a thousand words and will tell your story for you, so make sure you get enough pictures of the accident site just after the accident to prove your case. While you may naturally be injured, get someone else to picture the spill, crack or frayed carpet that caused your accident because you will need to use this as evidence when proving your case.

Slip and fall accidents in any area can be challenging, but you will need to have a really good lawyer to overcome giants like Macy’s and other department stores. Make sure you take all these factors into consideration to ensure you have a strong case.