How To Handle A Slip and Fall At Walmart
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If you live in America, chances are you live near a Walmart. As one of America’s largest retailers, they carry everything ranging from groceries and everyday necessities to more unique items like kayaks and telescopes.
Walmart portrays itself as a friendly neighborhood store, but if you have suffered injuries from a slip and fall accident in one of their locations, then your perception may be a little different. We often get asked, 'I slipped and fell at Walmart, what can I do?'
Walmart is well-versed in handling injury claims against it and is aggressive in dealing with them. In filing a personal injury claim against Walmart, it is important that you have an experienced attorney on your side to help you figure out your next move.
How Walmart Handles Claims
Because they are such a massive operation, Walmart is constantly being sued. In fact, there are about 20 new claims filed against the retail giant every day, totaling up to thousands of claims each year. This means that Walmart is well-versed in defending lawsuits against them. Walmart is unique amongst retailers in the ways that it handles claims in a few other ways as well.
Walmart is Aggressive
Walmart has a reputation for fighting personal injury claims tooth and nail when they are brought against them. This can sometimes mean refusing to settle even when it would make the most sense for them to wave the white flag. This hardline stance is probably an attempt to scare future claimants away.
Walmart is Big
As mentioned before, Walmart’s sheer size means that they are constantly dealing with lawsuits. This exposure gives its lawyers the chance to finetune their approach in how they approach trials and negotiations. In addition, given the massive amounts of revenue generated on an annual basis by Walmart, they are able to employ some of the top lawyers in the field.
Walmart Insures Itself
Most companies with a risk of liability will pay for liability insurance from a third-party insurer. However, Walmart is so large that is has created its own company to handle liability claims. The result of this is that they are able to focus on, and aggressively fight against, the lawsuits Walmart is facing.
Common Walmart Injury Claims
The injuries suffered from a slip and fall at Walmart vary greatly in both type and severity. However, a few of the more common include:
- Broken Bones: If you fell at Walmart, your instinctual reaction may have been to break your fall with your hands. Unfortunately, this will typically result in a broken wrist or other damage to the hand or arm depending on how bad the accident is.
- Head Injuries: Head injuries are among the most serious that a slip and fall victim can face. Even what seems like the most minor injury to the head should be treated with the utmost caution. If not treated soon after the accident, they can often develop into problems that require much more medical attention.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Typically, spinal cord injuries can occur when your spine is compressed as a result of landing on your back or rear. Spinal cord injuries have the ability to significantly impair your ability to move and function, and often require extensive therapy or surgery.
- Cuts and Abrasions: At Walmart, it is possible that your slip and fall involved broken glass or other sharp objects. If this is the case, then your injuries could include anything from minor scrapes and bruises to deep lacerations that can end up getting infected.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries can be difficult to deal with because you may not even realize that you have a soft tissue injury until weeks after the fall. However, if left untreated, they can lead to chronic pain and a loss of mobility. In addition, soft tissue injuries often leave you vulnerable to other, more serious, injuries.
How to File a Claim
If you think that you may have a claim against Walmart, it is important to follow a few steps in order to preserve that claim and move forward as effectively as possible.
1. Contact an Attorney
As mentioned, Walmart can be difficult to deal with in the personal injury arena. This means that it is critical that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your accident. An experienced attorney will be able to help guide you through the process and help you seek the maximum compensation that you may be entitled to.
2. Research and Investigate
Once you have hired an attorney, they can get to work on gathering all of the necessary documentation and evidence that your specific case will require. For a slip and fall case, this will include things like any video footage that may be available, statements from any witnesses to the accident, and any medical reports that you may have.
Once your attorney has gathered all of the information that they feel is necessary, they can begin to negotiate with Walmart. Experience with similar cases will allow them to argue for the maximum amount you may be entitled to and support those arguments with legal reasoning.
4. Go to Trial
As mentioned earlier, Walmart tends to take a hardline stance when it comes to personal injury cases. While most cases end up settling before they reach the courthouse, a claim with Walmart may be a bit more likely to go to trial.
To be successful in any personal injury case, you must be able to prove that the person that you are bringing the claim against acted negligently, and that that negligence was the actual cause of your injuries. It is not enough that you simply suffered injuries while inside the store. In a slip and fall case that occurs in a Walmart, proving liability will typically be accomplished in one of two ways.
First, you may be able to prove that a Walmart employee actually caused the dangerous situation that led to your slip and fall. For example, if an employee was mopping the floors and did not put up any sort of signage to indicate that the floor was wet, they may be responsible for your injuries. The employee, in this case, would have caused the dangerous condition (the wet floor) and did not take the reasonable step (putting up signage) to warn customers.
However, it is not necessary that the Walmart employee actually caused the dangerous condition. If Walmart knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take action to fix it, then they may be liable. For example, imagine that a customer dropped a jar of pickles in an aisle, creating a puddle with broken glass. The customer told an employee, but the employee did nothing with this information. If you slip in the puddle and sustain injuries, Walmart may be liable; they knew about the situation but did not take action quickly enough to remedy a potentially dangerous situation.
After you take care of your medical needs, one of your most pressing questions is most likely, “How much is my case worth?” This is a complicated question, and there is a lot that goes into how much money you walk away with, if any, in damages at the end of the day. Typical slip and fall settlement amounts tend to include damages in the following categories:
- Economic: Economic damages are objective, quantifiable costs that can be proven with a relative degree of certainty. These include things like medical bills, repair costs to any personal property that may have been damaged, and lost wages from being unable to work due to injury.
- Non-Economic: Non-economic damages typically refer to the pain and suffering that result from the injuries caused by your accident. Pain and suffering are a bit more nebulous and can be difficult to prove in certain circumstances, but nonetheless, they are recoverable.
Statute of Limitations
For any personal injury case, there is a related “statute of limitation,” which is the legal term for how long you have to file a case. The statute of limitations starts running on the day of your accident, and after it expires, a case brought based on that accident will usually be dismissed. For example, if the applicable statute of limitations is two years, you will have two years from the date of your fall to file a claim. The statute of limitations varies on a state-by-state basis, so it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to make sure that your case is not dismissed because it is not in compliance.
There are certain exceptions to statutes of limitation, however. One exception is if the victim in a case is a minor. Typically, in this situation, the statute will not start to run until they reach the age of majority. Another exception deals with cases that involve a wrongful death, in which case the statute is typically extended by a few years. However, as mentioned before, do not count on your case falling into a possible exception. Speak with an attorney
OUR SLIP AND FALL ATTORNEYS ARE HERE TO HELP
Our accident lawyers can help you understand the law. There are many factors to consider, such as previous complaints about an existing hazard, determining the true extent of Walmart's negligence, and determining negligence, if any, of the individual injured.
These are only a few of the factors that we analyze when investigating a case. Contact Zinda Law Group at 888-449-1160 for a free consultation regarding your injury case. As one of our clients, you will pay nothing unless we win your case - that's our No Win No Fee Guarantee!
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