If you recently fell while shopping in Walmart and would like to discuss the accident with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Brogdon Champion, LLC right away. We work on behalf of victims to help ensure a maximum recovery, particularly in light of the well-publicized settlements offered to shoppers injured in and around the Walmart store property.
Establishing Liability for a Slip and Fall
Recovering after a slip and fall accident in Walmart requires a finding of liability on the part of the store, which necessitates an analysis of Georgia’s “premises liability” statute. Under § 51-3-1 of the Georgia Code, an owner or occupier of a store is liable for any injuries on the premises that are due to a “failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” In the context of a large retailer like Walmart, “ordinary care” can take many forms, including:
Keeping aisles clear of inventory and spills.
Securing inventory stored overhead.
Properly shoveling and salting the parking lots and sidewalks following snow and ice.
Keeping entryways dry.
Spacing aisles such that shoppers can comfortably travel throughout the store.
- Properly maintaining automatic doors.
In general, any deviation from store protocols for proper maintenance could indicate liability of the retailer in the event that a patron slips and falls, resulting in injury. That is, of course, assuming there is no applicable defense to the accident victim’s factual allegations. In other words, you may think that Walmart was completely at fault for your injuries, but you may have played a role in your injuries as well, and without the proper help from a personal injury attorney, you could lose your case.
Watch for these Defenses to Slip and Fall Liability
Walmart is no stranger to litigation, and it may use certain tactics to help evade exposure to liability. For example, a slip and fall doctrine does not apply in any scenario where a plaintiff suffered injuries in an area not generally open to the public. Therefore, if a slip and fall takes places in an employee area, a victim may be excluded from recovery.
Walmart may also attempt to argue that it offered the shopper adequate warning of hazards. This defense may be successful in the event the victim was aware of the spill in the aisle, perhaps due to the presence of a wet floor sign.
Filing a Claim against Walmart
Premises liability claims are heavily fact-driven and necessitate sufficient evidence that the store failed to exercise ordinary care. Accordingly, it helps to document the accident as specifically as possible, such as by collecting eyewitness statements and pictures of the scene.
Walmart stores are self-insured entities, which means that they handle their own injury claims in-house without the involvement of a third-party insurance provider. Walmart uses CMI (short for Claims Management, Inc.) to handle their personal injury claims. CMI can be difficult to deal with. It frequently denies Walmart had any liability for slip and fall injuries, and it almost always refused to produce store video that captured the accident. Therefore, the road to recovery may be difficult, as the store’s claims department is likely to deny most attempts for recovery from the start.
If working with Walmart proves futile, injury victims may opt to file a personal injury lawsuit in state or federal district court to pursue damages based on negligence. Oftentimes, larger retailers like Walmart will heed this cue to offer a reasonable settlement and may be more likely to negotiate with a slip and fall plaintiff. If not, a jury may ultimately award significant damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Therefore, your best bet may be to take them to court with a personal injury attorney on your side.