Walmart is a worldwide retail powerhouse, earning a gross profit of over $124 billion in 2016 alone, reports Nasdaq.com. Many Florida consumers shop at Walmart for its wide selection of products and low prices. While some customers get a great deal, others end up with serious injuries. Slip and falls, falling merchandise, and other accidents occur fairly regularly causing severe injuries and even deaths.
To protect your right to compensation, check out these five things to know if you were injured at a Walmart in Florida.
1) Walmart Will Not Always Be Liable for Your Injury
While you might think that Walmart would be liable for any injury that occurs on its property, this is not always true. To hold Walmart liable, you must be able to establish the following:
- You were invited onto the property/were on the property lawfully. (Property owners do not owe trespassers a duty to keep their property safe from hazards.) Unless you were trespassing in the middle of the night, this is usually easy to establish.
- The property owner knew or should have known about the hazard, e.g., a large tear in the carpet that has been there for days. We can look at surveillance videos and employee inspection records to determine how long the tear had been there.
- The property owner did nothing to remedy the hazard, e.g., the property owner did not repair the carpet or warn customers of the hazard.
- The hazard caused your injury, e.g., you tripped over the carpet.
If the hazard was obvious and you suffered an injury, Walmart might not be liable if it can prove that you should have known (e.g., a warning sign). Coffey Trial Law will work to defend you against any accusations of partial liability.
2) Walmart May Not Take Appropriate Action After Your Accident
If you are injured at Walmart and notify an employee or manager at the store, she has a responsibility to take care of you and your injuries. Employees must follow the protocol implemented by the corporation. This protocol typically requires calling for medical help, monitoring the injured party closely, and filing an accident report. In some cases, however, the employee will fail to take appropriate action after an accident and the victim may suffer as a result.
If this is happening to you, make sure you write down exactly what happened, what caused your injury, who you spoke with, as well as the contact information for anyone who witnessed your injury. This may allow us to build a case against Walmart, even without an accident report.
The employee will likely also refer you to the risk management office for additional help. However, there have been many cases where the store fails to respond to phone calls for a long time after the accident. In some cases, the store never calls the injured party back. If the store or risk management refuses to return your calls, let us know. We will handle it.
3) Walmart is Self-Insured
Unlike many other companies, Walmart has its own third-party insurance company known as a Claims Management Inc. (CMI). Any claims filed against the company will go through CMI.
If you file suit against Walmart, expect CMI to call and request a recorded statement. It is important to remember that this third-party insurer is solely focused on protecting the interests of Walmart and trying to pay you as little as possible. Do not be fooled by the friendliness of the CMI representative that contacts you. He will use any information you give him against you.
Instead of agreeing to give a recorded statement, tell the adjuster to call us with any questions. We know the tricks adjusters pull as well as how to defend against them.
4) CMI Will Try to Blame You for Your Injuries
To prove your case, you will need to show that the store or an employee of the store was negligent and that his negligence caused your injuries. Remember that Walmart owes you a duty to keep you safe as you shop on their property. If Walmart failed to properly maintain the property or failed to remedy any dangerous conditions, its actions could be proof of negligence, making the company liable for your damages.
In many cases, CMI will try to pin the accident on you and say that you contributed to or caused your injuries (e.g., you were texting and did not see the wet floor sign, you and another shopper were involved in a fight that Walmart did not contribute to).
Florida follows the pure comparative fault doctrine which allows you to recover compensation even if you contributed to your injuries, but it is important to note that your fault will decrease your settlement.
For example, if your damages totaled $50,000 and the investigator found you 20 percent at fault, you can only recover $40,000 of your settlement. This will leave you paying $10,000 out of your own pocket.
5) You Can Win Your Lawsuit Against Walmart
Proving your case against Walmart will be challenging but you may be able to win if you enlist the help of a lawyer from Coffey Trial Law. We will present solid and credible evidence to prove negligence and establish your damages. If your case is successful, you could recover compensation to cover various expenses including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Many attorneys are still intimidated by big corporations like Walmart and are uninterested in filing suits against them. The attorneys at Coffey Trial Law are comfortable taking on these cases and are ready and willing to fight in court on your behalf. Call us today at 954-541-3194 to discuss filing suit against a Florida Walmart.