Wal Mart Slip and Fall Case – Expert AdviceJune 22, 2009
The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:
Subject: Slip and fall at Wal-mart
Question: I went to my local Walmart the other night (two days ago to be exact).
I got a hand held basket and did my shopping. When I was done, I remembered I needed some ice. So, I proceeded to the front of the store to where the ice cooler is located. When I got to the front of the store, I walked between some empty cash register isles. This is where I slipped and fell on some wet crushed lettuce, or crushed green grapes…
I did get hurt. I filed a statement with the assistant manager of the store on a paper that I signed and he signed. Also, I got a copy of it. He told me that someone would contact me…. which they have not yet. I did go the local ER where I got checked. They said I have a soft tissue injury that includes all my back from lower to upper and rib cage, right arm pulled tissue. Also, a badly bruised right knee with swelling and stiffness. The doctor told me to do NOTHING for 7 days – no work, no lifting , etc… The doctor also put me on muscle relaxers 3 times a day for 7 days. I can’t drive or do anything on these meds. If I am not better in a week’s time, I am to come back to get checked again.
How long does it take for Walmart to contact me about this? Or is it a insurance adjuster that calls? I have great insurance and that has already taken care of the hospital. How much do you think they would offer me to settle? If I don’t settle, how much could this slip and fall case be worth?
Thanks for the general info…
Answer: Again, I’m not licensed in Maine, but I can give you some insight to dealing with Wal Mart. My first suggestion is to speak with an experienced slip and fall case attorney in your area. Wal Mart will not pay much attention to your claim without an attorney, and any offer they eventually make will not be a very good one.
Your questions are about whether you should settle, and if so, for how much. It would be tough to answer those questions right now without knowing more about your injuries. Once you go to the doctor, and he/she is able to fully diagnose and treat your knee and back, the value of your claim may become a little more clear. For instance, if in a few days your soreness and bruising clears up, and you have no residual problems, the value of your claim is probably not very much. On the other hand, if your knee or back doesn’t get better, maybe gets worse to the point you need surgery, the value obviously goes up.
You also should speak with an attorney to evaluate the "liability" aspect of your claim. At least in Florida, stores such as Wal Mart are not responsible for injuries arising out of a slip and fall case in their
store unless the condition that caused the slip and fall, here a piece of lettuce or a grape, was one that Wal Mart knew existed on the floor, or should have known it existed on the floor, and did not take
reasonable measures to clean it up or warn customers of its existence. There are different ways to show this, and different fact to examine to try and satisfy this burden of proof. A Maine attorney experienced in a slip and fall case such as this can tell you what you have to prove to hold Wal Mart responsible for your fall.
Keep in mind that most slip and fall/personal injury attorneys handle claims like this on a contingent basis. If there is no recovery, you do not owe an attorney’s fee. Also, most attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose in getting an expert opinion from a lawyer in your area.
Lastly, most attorneys that do this type of work have handled cases against Wal Mart before. The attorney will know that Wal Mart claims are handled out of Bentonville, AR by inhouse adjustors. If you speed up the process of hearing from Wal Mart, you need to call them in AR and find the claim #, and the name of the adjustor assigned to handling the case. BUT – if you’re considering getting a slip and fall case attorney, I would do it before you speak to Wal Mart.