Many people go to Walmart several times a month. Although it may seem like a relatively safe place, Walmart accidents can still happen due to damaged grocery carts, improperly positioned floor mats, or slippery floors from leaks and spills. These conditions can cause one to slip and fall. If it has happened to you, you might now be wondering, ‘I just had a Walmart accident. Now what?’
Now, you find a lawyer, like us, who you can consult, share your experience with, and who will aggressively advocate for your right to be compensated for the injuries sustained in Walmart’s premises. Hopefully, when you had a Walmart accident, you did the following things in order to strengthen your claim.
Things to Do If You’ve Had a Walmart Accident
First, check around to see if anyone has witnessed the accident. Having eyewitness testimony will always be good for your case. Although family and friends make good witnesses, a third-party independent witness would be better. Getting their names and contact information would be important in case you need their testimony in the future.
Immediately report the incident to the store manager. Request to see the surveillance cameras. Ask the store manager to make an incident report and to email you a copy of the incident report. Also ask for the store’s insurance company and the name and address of Walmart’s corporate office.
Take pictures and videos of the accident scene with your phone. Make sure that the picture and video has a date and time stamp or a way to determine when the picture and video was taken.
Immediately go to the doctor to get your injuries checked. Don’t delay getting medical treatment. This will establish the causal relation between the Walmart accident and the injuries you sustained. Keep all medical bills and reports.
Getting a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve done all of the above, you’ve just made your attorney’s life a little bit easier. If not, don’t fret. Based on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer can help you navigate the process of gathering evidence and proving your claim. Getting a personal injury attorney, like us, will always work for your benefit. We can send your demand for compensation in writing, enclosing copies of your medical bills and other evidence. This will show Walmart that you are serious in your claim.
Walmart has numerous lawyers to defend them. These Walmart lawyers and their insurance companies will likely give you a lowball offer if you come into the negotiating table on your own without legal representation. For this reason, it is recommended to get a lawyer even during the preliminary stage of gathering your evidence and building your case. Most lawyers will accept Walmart accident cases on contingency.
If you’ve had an accident in Walmart, proving Walmart’s liability is a matter of proving a negligence claim: (a) Walmart must have owed you a duty of care; (b) Walmart breached that duty of care; (c) Walmart’s breach caused you harm; and (d) because of Walmart’s breach, you suffered physical, emotional, or financial injuries.
The first element, the existence of a duty of care, is easy to prove. For as long as Walmart is open to the public and invites the public to its premises, it owes a duty of care to those who have entered to make sure that its premises are safe.
The second element, the breach of a duty of care, has become contentious in litigation. In New York, jurisprudence provides that there is breach when the owner or possessor of the premises had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and failed to do something about it.
For example, you were in Walmart. There were attendants giving out free food and drinks in a booth inside the supermarket. One supermarket goer was given a free drink, which she accidentally spilled on the floor. Several Walmart employees saw the spill on the floor but did nothing about it. After two hours, you were passing by an aisle, searching for your groceries on the shelves when you slipped on the spilled drink. You suffered serious back injuries because of the Walmart accident. Is Walmart liable? Yes, because several Walmart employees saw the spilled drink but failed to do something about it.
Suppose, however, that the spilled drink was on the floor for three hours, but no Walmart employee saw the spilled drink. Is Walmart liable? Walmart may still be held liable because you can argue that Walmart had constructive notice of the spilled drink, having been on the floor for the past three hours.
Suppose, instead, that despite the presence of a booth giving out free food and drinks, Walmart had an hourly inspection schedule where one of its employees would inspect the floor. None of the Walmart employees reported a spill on its hourly inspection schedule. Still, you slipped. Is Walmart liable? In this case, Walmart may not be held liable because its hourly floor inspection schedule shows that it was not negligent and did not breach any duty of care towards you.
The third element, causality, is also a point of contention in negligence litigation. Walmart will always try to deny liability when you’ve had an accident in their premises. They will claim that the reason for your injuries is not the Walmart accident. This is usually argued when there is a long period of time that has lapsed between the Walmart accident and the reported medical injury.
For example, you slipped in Walmart, but did not immediately go to the doctor to get your injuries treated. Instead, you went to the doctor after 4 months from the Walmart accident, and only then did you learn that your fall caused you severe back injuries. Walmart will argue that there is no relation between the Walmart accident in their premises and your back injuries, given the length of time that has lapsed between the accident and the complained injuries. However, if you immediately went to the doctor after the Walmart accident, causation between your injuries and the accident can easily be established.
The fourth element, damages, can easily be proven with documentary evidence. Your claim for damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, future lost earning capacity, property damage, physical pain, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.
Medical reports, medical bills and other expenses can show physical and financial injuries. If you are claiming for lost wages and future lost earning capacity, you need your pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns to show how much you were earning and a medical report from your doctor stating the time you need to stay home for recovery. Medical experts can testify regarding the pain and suffering caused by the injury you sustained in Walmart’s premises.
If you experienced an accident in Walmart premises, remember the tips provided above on what to do immediately after the accident, such as reporting the incident immediately to the store manager. Also get a lawyer, like us, on board from the outset so you can build your case immediately while evidence is still fresh and can easily be gathered. For example, if you wait longer in filing your complaint, surveillance camera footage may be deleted due to Walmart’s need for memory space in its computer, and not necessarily to disprove your claim. This deletion might not be taken against Walmart. If you act quickly, the greater your chances of getting a higher settlement.
If you are wondering what to do because you’ve had a Walmart accident, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at email@example.com.