Although slip and fall accidents can be embarrassing, it’s important for victims to lay their bruised egos aside and take immediate steps to protect their financial well-being. After all, these events can lead to serious and lasting injuries and the need for costly and ongoing medical treatment. Such situations aren’t really something that people are normally prepared for, whether it is mentally or financially.
From slipped discs to broken hips, public falls can cause a range of problems that make it difficult to function and live normally. If you have had a slip and fall accident at Walmart, understanding the right actions to take after this event is vital for ensuring that you get the compensation you need and deserve. Slip and fall injuries, besides potentially having a massive financial effect, can also turn out to be a life-long struggle with health issues or the impossibility to perform daily activities normally.
Suing on the Grounds of Negligence
Suing on the grounds of negligence is when a person seeks compensation for an injury that is the direct result of oversight on the part of a company or property owner. Instances in which you might seek compensation from Walmart on the basis of negligence include:
- Water or other clear liquids on the floor
- Naturally slippery in-store surfaces
- Spilled products that are not cleaned up in a timely fashion such as cooking oils or automotive fluids
- Poorly stacked merchandise or display equipment such as hangers that serve as a tripping hazard
- Poorly maintained flooring with dips, chips, or cracks in its surface
- Poorly maintained parking lot surfaces or entry areas
When people submit claims based on negligence, they assume the burden of proof. This means that they must show exactly how the property owner was negligent.
In the specific case of Walmart, this could mean performing floor patrols too infrequently to identify and clean up slip hazards, failing to put down appropriate signage identifying slip hazards, or failing to maintain flooring or parking lot surfaces that can be traversed easily and safely by all shoppers.
Why Walmart Is Such a Difficult Company to Sue
As a multinational retail corporation, Walmart has nearly 5,000 stores in the United States alone. Having been around since the late 1960s, this company has certainly seen its fair share of both founded and frivolous lawsuits. As such, company policies dictate that employees always be diligent in keeping their floors clean and hazard-free.
Servicing hundreds of thousands of customers each day, these locations have a number of scheduled floor-cleaning activities that are intended to take place every five to 10 minutes. Whether or not this intended level of diligence is actually maintained by employees is another question. However, when fighting litigation, Walmart will always refer to these heavily documented practices.
It is also important to note that this company recognizes its incredibly high potential for litigation. As such, it has attorneys and doctors on hand to assist it in defending against claims of negligence concerning trip and fall injuries and other in-store accidents. Thus, if you are ever hurt in a Walmart, it is important to document your claim carefully, efficiently, and as early-on as you can. Having a full report of the happening will definitely help your case, especially if even the earliest stages are properly documented. A specialized lawyer will help you construct your file so that your case is as straight forward as possible.
Documenting the Scene of Your Accident
One of the best things that you can do after a slip and fall event in Walmart is to take photos of the scene. You can do this using your mobile phone camera or by having any friends or family members who are shopping with you do so with their own mobile phones.
Pay special attention to the surfaces or obstructions that directly contributed to your accident. You may be able to identify the cause of your slip and fall so you can get photos of that, too. Some potential hazards include uneven paving, loose carpets, spilled food, and snow and ice in winter (Source: https://baderscott.com/areas-we-serve/atlanta-ga/slip-and-fall-accident-lawyer/).
It is also important to avoid walking away from the scene of an accident when possible. If you believe that your injuries are severe, you should not risk exacerbating them by rushing to get up or by traveling on foot through the store. Requesting emergency medical assistance is the best way to verify that there are no spinal or other injuries that could be worsened by hasty movements.
Always be sure to visit a doctor right away so that your slip and fall-related injuries are documented.
Save the Clothes and Shoes That You Were Wearing on the Day of the Event
Never throw any clothing or shoes that you were wearing at the time of your accident away. When you get home, place these things in a safe, secure area in case they are ever needed to bolster your case. Keep in mind that Walmart might:
- Request to view these items as part of their defense
- Ask to have the case thrown out if they have already disposed of
- Attempt to show that your fall is the result of wearing shoes with poor traction
- Attempt to show that you have tripped on the hem of your own garment.
Preserving your clothing and footwear will allow you to prove that your injuries are not the result of what you were wearing.
Suing Walmart is never easy. This major corporation is well-seasoned in facing claims of negligence. However, if you are diligent in documenting your injury and the conditions that caused them, you have a fair chance at getting the settlement you’re due.
Slip and Fall accidents are very common situations, but also some of the trickiest in court. It is important to seek professional legal advice before embarking on this legal process. Contact a specialized lawyer that will be able to guide you through an easy and effective process. Experience and knowledge of the particularities of such cases will definitely be one of your biggest assets.