Food Court Accident Injures 10

Ontario, California—A panel falling from the ceiling in an Ontario Mills mall injured ten people when a recently remodeled food court’s ceiling decorations gave way. Seven of the injured were taken to the hospital, at least one with traumatic head injuries, according to ABC News.

The portion of the ceiling that fell in was about six feet wide and 15 feet long.  It was originally hanging from the ceiling but fell for unknown reasons. The mall manager stated that the organization remains committed to safety and is investigating the cause of the fall.  It is unclear if the fall was due to structural damage from the renovation or a faulty design of the new section of ceiling.

My sincere wishes for a speedy recover go out to the injured in this case.

Falling Objects Can Cause Serious Injury

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks rates of occupational injuries based on the type of incident that caused the harm.  Although this accident was not strictly work-related, these statistics often mimic accidents that happen outside the workplace in their frequency level.

According to the BLS, falling objects account for about ten percent of all fatal injuries in the workplace. The total number of people killed in the United States by falling objects in 2011 was 219.

Mechanics of Falling Objects

Because most falling objects take people unawares, it is not unusual to see head or facial trauma.  When someone realizes that a heavy object is descending, it is reflexive to look up and put the hands, palm out, in front of the head or face in an effort to shield the head from injury.  Therefore, the most likely injuries to be sustained in a falling object accident are the top of the head if the victim had no foreknowledge of the object’s movement or the hands and face if the victim looked up.

Depending on the weight of a falling object, victims can be hurt or killed in these accidents. Objects do not have to be extremely heavy to cause extensive brain damage or skull fractures. In fact, the height from which the object is dropped has more to do with how damaging the falling object will be rather than the weight per se.  Objects dropped from higher elevations have more time to develop speed than those dropped from lower elevations.  Acceleration is one component of force, and an object has more force with greater acceleration.  To illustrate, a five-kilogram object dropped from 10 meters has half the force of the same object dropped from 20 meters.

Liability for Damages in Mall Injuries

Most malls are owned by corporations who rent store space to the vendors.  Since the accident took place at the food court of this mall, it is likely that the area that was renovated belongs solely to the mall’s management company. If this is the case, that company may be liable for damages to the victims.

A California personal injury lawyer can help the victims of this accident file a claim for damages to pay for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other expenses.

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Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 16 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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