Thousands of people are injured in slip and fall accidents every year. Most of these accidents could have been avoided, but they are the result of the negligence of a property owner, a business, an individual, or the company employees.
If you slipped and fell, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the retailer.
When You Slip and Fall
Recall your surroundings. It is important to establish who was at fault when you fell. What was it that caused you to fall? Here are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Puddles of water that weren’t mopped up by employees
- Products that have fallen off the shelf and are lying in the middle of the floor
- Dangerous objects such as storage or shelving equipment
- Food products left on the floor
Many super stores have a Subway or McDonald’s located within the property, so food and beverage spills are common. Walmart, like many other huge super stores, often has a home and garden section, which can hazards such as dirt, grease, or pallets lying throughout the aisle.
Other ways people can be injured at Walmart, or another super store, are when employees neglect to maintain the property. Winter months can cause dangerous situations in northern states. Employees have the responsibility to keep the following conditions safe for customers:
- Welcome mats. Store welcome mats are known to be a danger during winter months if neglected. When frozen, they become slippery.
- Sidewalks. Employees have an obligation to keep their sidewalks clear of snow, ice, or other hazards. Sidewalks should also be salted or sanded whenever ice is present.
- Roofs. Roofs can collect snow and ice, which can slide into the path of customers often. Employees typically need to put out warning signs when rooftop snow creates a dangerous condition.
With any luck, you or a family member will have taken a photo of the scene. This may not always be possible in every scenario because you may be too injured to get images of the incident, but photo evidence could be your best bet of winning your claim.
Injuries That May Occur In a Slip and Fall Accident
There are numerous injuries that may result from slipping and falling in a store. Some of the more common injuries suffered include broken bones, knee and ankle injuries, back and neck injuries, foot injuries, and arm and wrist injuries. There are many ways a slip and fall accident could occur. Here are a couple of example scenarios:
- You were waling through the hardware department when you didn’t realize that someone had spilled some glue in the floor. As you reached to get something from the shelf, you put your foot down directly on the sticky substance, which caused you to slip and fall forward into the metal shelving.
- Spills in the grocery section are commonplace. Squashed fruit in produce, broken jars of food in the grocery aisles, and spilled drinks in the beverage section are all slippery messes that can lead to slip and fall accidents.
- The lawn and garden center often contain plants that must be watered. When these plants are watered, the store employees have a responsibility to warn you of the risks by placing wet floor signs. However, when soil and fertilizer overflow from the pots onto the floor, it is important to clean that up because even after the water has dried, those things can be a slippery threat.
- The automotive department is where various automotive products and fluids are located. Leaking transmission fluid or a spilled can of motor oil can be a hazardous and slippery threat. A fall because of these things can lead to serious injuries.
- Even a visit to the bathroom can be dangerous if a toilet has overflowed or if there is a wet floor and there are no signs to warn visitors of the risks that are there so they can watch their steps.
Claims Management, Inc.
If you have been injured on store property and you are pursuing a personal injury claim against the retailer, you will most likely be contacted by Claims Management, Inc. This is a third-party insurance adjuster that handles things for the retail chain.
When you are confronted by Claims Management, Inc., they will try to make it sound as if they are looking out for you, but in all actuality, they are looking out for the store because that is who they are working for. Their goal is to get by paying out as little as possible. When you talk with them, provide as few details as possible.
In all actuality, you shouldn’t talk with them alone because they work with the store's legal team. You should go into this situation knowing that the store has lawyers looking out for them, so you need legal representation looking out for you. You should consult with a personal injury attorney who handles slip and fall accidents.
Your attorney will understand the claims process and will understand the state laws where you are located. Your lawyer will look out for your interests and will work to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the claims process. Personal injury lawyers work on what is known as a contingency basis. This means that your attorney will not need to be paid until you recover compensation for your damages through a judgment or a settlement.
Shops like Walmart, or any other big box store are expected to provide a safe space for shoppers. In large stores there is usually a policy in place about spills and clean ups. It is possible a slip and fall accident could’ve been avoided if employees followed by the store's slip and fall policies. If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident at Walmart, or any other large store, you may be entitled to compensation.
One of the most important components of filing an injury claim is evidence. Be sure to include photos and videos, medical bills, medical notes, and statements from witnesses. A slip-and-fall can catch you off guard and take you from “feeling great” to “seriously injured” in a matter of seconds.Don’t get stuck with medical bills you don’t deserve or a serious long-term injury.
How Are Slip and Fall Cases Handled
If you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall, you should be aware that Claims Management, Inc., has the responsibility of trying to avoid paying out damages. The sole job of this third-party is to mitigate and minimize the payouts for thousands of injury claims that are filed against the retail establishment every year. After all, if thousands of claims are filed, it seems pretty obvious that the company isn’t doing what it should to limit accidents and to protect its customers from harm.
The claims adjuster may try to convince you that you are to blame for the fall, or at least partly at fault. They may also try to tell you that your injuries aren’t as serious as you think they are, and they may try to even say the store has absolutely no responsibility for the incident when it is obvious that their negligence caused your fall. Your attorney will stand up for your rights and will aggressively pursue your claim and help you gather supporting evidence and documentation that shows that your accident could have been avoided if the store had followed through with their obligations and acted more responsibly.
Statue of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
If you slip and fell while shopping at Walmart, or any established business, there are strict statute of limitations in which you are able to file a claim. Statute of limitation are the laws that limit the amount of time victims of personal injury, such as a slip and fall have to seek financial compensation for their injuries.
How much time you have to file a slip and fall personal injury claim against Walmart, or any established business depends on the state in which the accident occurred in. Each states have different statute of limitations laws.
For example, states like Louisiana and Tennessee have only 1 year statute of limitations laws from which the incident occurred, where states like Maine and Minnesota have statute of limitations up to 6 years from which the incident occurred to file a personal injury claim.
If you slip and fell at a Walmart, or any large story, it is recommended to look up the statute of limitations for the state where the accident occurred before preparing a slip and fall case.
Preparing Your Slip and Fall Case
Although a slip and fall incident is a stressful and painful time for anyone, there are many records you should keep track of while preparing for your lawsuit. Some of the necessary documents may include, but are not limited to:
- Hospital records from immediately after the injury took place. This will eliminate any doubt that your injuries were caused from a fall.
- Ongoing hospital visits. Any additional trips you needed to make to the hospital, whether it’s for follow-ups or physical therapy, should be documented.
- Doctor’s notes. Your physician’s comments on your injuries and how they affect your life can be very valuable in a claim against the corporation.
- Loss in wages. Keep track of any time you had to take off for trips to the doctor, or injuries that made you unable to perform your duties at work.
- Pain and suffering. Were some days more manageable than others? Or have you been in constant pain since the slip and fall? Be sure to note how much pain you experience every day.
A claim for a slip and fall will need other supporting documents in addition to the various medical notes and records. You will need to gather any witness statements and contact information as well as take pictures and videos as soon as possible. If no one witnessed your slip and fall, try to get statements from those who saw the hazardous situation at Walmart, or any other store.
You will want to consult with a slip and fall attorney who is licensed to handle claims in your state. This attorney is familiar with state and local laws and will be able to protect your rights and help ensure that you are treated fairly.
Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details regarding your slip and fall. A law office who handles claims in your area will help you determine the best way to proceed with your claim. There is a statute of limitations for pursuing a claim, so if you wait too long, you cannot recover damages. Now is the time to act, while you can get your claim filed during the allowable timeframe.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Walmart, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.