If I was offered no assistance when I picked up a dresser at a retail store and injured my hand, doI have any legal recourse?

The clerk showed me and my friend where the dresser was in the back storeroom and stood by while we attempted to load it into a van. When we picked it up, I lost my grip and it fell, banging my finger between the dresser bottom and a cement floor. The clerk was shocked at my obviously injured finger. I ripped the main tendon off my knuckle and am undergoing what will be many months of therapy before we can tell if there will be any permanent damage. Seeing as it happened on store property, and no assistance was offered, do I have any legal recourse?

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Personal Injury, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you probably are not entitled to any compensation. The fact that an injury occurs on someone's property, including a store's property, does not, by itself, create an entitlement to compensation. There must be liability, which depends on fault--that is, the store must have done something wrong, either intentionally or negligently (unreasonably carelessly). From what you write, the store's staff did nothing wrong--there is no general obligation for a staff member to carry or help lift goods for customers. It seems you and your friend simply tried to lift it without even asking for help; under those circumstances, it is almost impossible to conceive that the store was in any way at fault.

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