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Costco Incident Reveals an Issue with Emergency Exits

On Friday, June 14, 2019, an off-duty LAPD officer fatally shot one man and wounded to others. According to the off-duty officer, he was assaulted while he was shipping with his family at a Costco store in Corona – which resulted in his response with gunfire. The incident occurred at approximately 7:45 p.m. at a Costco located at 480 N. McKinely Street when a male assaulted the officer while the officer was holding a young child. Costco Incident Reveals an Issue with Emergency Exits The officer fired his weapon, striking the man who assaulted him and two other parties (who have been determined to be family members). The deceased man was identified as Kenneth French, 32, of the Riverside area – he was pronounced dead at the scene. His two injured family members were hospitalized in critical condition. This unfortunate event occurred in the evening hours of Friday – easily one of the busiest times for Costco and other wholesale retail stores. This means that there were plenty of shoppers inside the Costco when shots were fired. The shots resulted in a panic throughout the store – leading shoppers to try and escape through emergency doors. However, the emergency doors at the Corona Costco never opened.
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One witness of the incident, identified as Rochelle Flores, gave the following statement to a local news station: “It’s not very fun when you’re scared and you’re running for your life, and you’re trying to open a door that says ’emergency’ and they don’t open. Everybody was freaking out. People were falling over each other.”
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This reveals a major problem within the store. The store failed to ensure that their emergency exits were functional – having the basic capacity to open in an emergency situation. The lack of functional emergency exits could have been fatal to innocent shoppers. As clear in Flores’ statement, people were falling over each other – this could have resulted in injuries ranging in severity. When stores like Costco fail to have the necessary functional emergency exits, they are putting their shoppers at risk of suffering injuries and even losing their lives. We live in a time where gunfire is unfortunately too common. Although we trust that we will be out of harms way while we are shopping or doing any other everyday things, we are aware that something can happen at any time. Because of that, it is essential that all establishments have the necessary emergency exists to allow innocent parties to escape dangerous situations. When stores like Costco fail to have the necessary functional emergency exits, they are putting their shoppers at risk of suffering injuries and even losing their lives. Did you witness the incident above? Did you try to escape through an emergency exit only to find that the door would not open? Did you suffer injuries due to the inability to exit safely? Did a member of your family lose his or her life due to the lack of emergency exits? If you or a member of your family were affected by an establishment’s lack of functional emergency exits, you might have grounds to take legal action. If you would like to learn more about your right to take action against Costco or any other establishment that failed to provide reasonable and functional emergency exits to allow you to escape dangerous situations, do not hesitate to contact the experts at Downtown L.A. Law Group. Downtown L.A. Law Group is a personal injury law firm with many years of experience handling a variety of claims – including both injury claims and wrongful death claims. If you or a member of your family were harmed in any way due to a lack of functional emergency exits, you can trust that the experts at our firm will provide you with the legal assistance that you need to hold the party liable for the harm that you suffered accountable for all damages. If you would like to discuss the possibility of filing a claim against Costco or any other entity, do not hesitate to contact our law firm as soon as possible.

Understanding the Dangers of Issues with Emergency Exits

At the incident in Costco, panicked shoppers were pushing and falling over each other while simply trying to exit the premises. As people push towards the door, the situation becomes even more dangerous for all parties involved. Crowds are dangerous – especially when the crowd is pushing towards one specific area. If anyone falls, they can get trampled by the crowd. Possible injuries include traumatic injuries to the head or chest. Other possible injuries include cracked ribs and punctured lungs, for example. Although trampling deaths are common and the most severe way in which people can be harmed, asphyxiation is much more common. As people in a crowd push forward, those in the front of the crowd are being pushed with incredible force (due to the pushing and the domino-effect nature of the pushing). Those at the front of a crowd being pushed are pushed with so much force that they are compressed, and their chests are crushed – preventing them from being able to breathe. Within three minutes of improper oxygenation of the brain, there will be severe brain injury. If this persists for even two to three more minutes, the deprivation of oxygen can be fatal.
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Can this really happen if you are simply trying to exit through an emergency door at a costly? In most cases, the harm mentioned above caused by crowds pushing and stampeding occurs when hundreds (or thousands in some instances) of people are involved. How many people were shopping at the time of the incident at the Costco in Corona? Even a small crowd of 30 to 50 people, for instance, could result in significant harm if everyone is pushing towards an emergency door that does not open.
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What is the problem with emergency exits that do not open? Undeniably, emergency exits that fail to open can result in even more panic among the crowd – resulting in more pushing and a higher chance of suffering harm. In addition, the inability to exit and get away from the dangerous situation could result in innocent people being unjustly exposed to dangerous conditions.

The Store’s Duty of Care to Shoppers

All stores have the duty to ensure that their premises are free of any hazards or potential hazards. They have a general duty to identify and address hazards to ensure that shoppers are not subject to any sort of harm while on the premises. Without a doubt, stores cannot control everything that happens within their premises. For example, they couldn’t have possibly known that there would be an incident resulting in gunfire inside their store (as the incident in Costco in Corona). A major part in ensuring the safety of shoppers is ensuring that there are emergency exits that allow shoppers to leave the premises to get to safety in any sort of emergency. When a store fails to ensure that their emergency doors are functional, they are breaching their duty of care to their shoppers. They are also negligently creating a risk of harm to their shoppers. If any shoppers are injured or are killed as a result of this negligence, it is possible for victims or surviving family members to pursue claims and even receive compensation.

Recover Compensation

Depending on the specific details of the claim, victims and their families might be eligible to recover compensation. Some of the compensation available for recovery might include the following:
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
The specific type and amount of compensation available for recovery depends on the details of your claim; therefore, it is essential that you discuss your claim with an expert as soon as possible. When you discuss your claim with an expert, you can be certain that you will gain a thorough understanding of the compensation that you could recover. When you allow the experts at Downtown L.A. Law Group to handle your claim, you could be certain that our experts will fight for your right to recover the highest amount of compensation available for your claim. Do not hesitate to contact us today.
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Our Law Firm

At Downtown L.A. Law Group, we are dedicated to providing all victims with the legal guidance necessary to pursue a claim and receive compensation. Whether you suffered injuries or a member of your family lost his or her life, you can be certain that the experts at our law firm will do everything within your reach to help you reach the outcome that you deserve. Are you interested in discussing your claim with the experts at our firm? If so, do not hesitate to contact our firm immediately.
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When you contact our law firm, you will find that our firm offers free legal services, including free consultations and free second opinions. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our lawyers will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns regarding the possibility of taking legal action. Our lawyers will provide you with all the information that you will need to start or continue your claim. If you are interested in benefiting from our free consultations or free second opinions, do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at our firm at your earliest convenience. You will also find that our legal services are available to you as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee. Our Zero-Fee guarantee ensures that our clients never have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. Our firm is also based on a strict contingency structure; therefore, our clients will never be required to pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome. If you do not win, you will not be required to pay anything. Contact our firm today.

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