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“Nasty” Slip And Fall Case In Walmart – Expert Advice

August 20, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Slip And Fall Case Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Slipped and fell in urine at Walmart!

Question: "Hi I was in Walmart and slipped and fell in URINE!! Heres what happened: I was in Walmart with my fiance and 7 month old son. We were in the electronics section looking at cell phones. After 1 of the 3 employees at the register (which was directly across from the aisle in clear view) came and got us a cell phone off the rack because they were locked in, I was following my fiance and I slipped and fell while holding my son in my arms. Thankfully I didn’t drop him. My right fooot slid and landed on my right knee while my left leg slid backwards. I landed on my right hand, falling to the side to save my baby. I yelled for my fiance to come get him and got back up and asked for the manager. The employees then went out to clean the mess. A man that had seen me fall told them to wait for the manager to see it. He gave me his card and said he witnessed it. The manager asked if I needed medical attention. I said no. I filled out an accident report and told him my back and knee hurt as I was filling it out. The manager told them to clean the mess. They announced, "what do we clean up urine with?" I was disgusted! The manager told them to use an anti- bacterial soap. We left the store and my back was in excruciating pain, so I went to the ER. When I got there, they said nothing was fractured or broken and gave me muscle relaxers, Vicoden, and Ibuprofen. The next day, I woke up with horrible neck pain and headaches. I went to another ER and they said they couldn’t do anything more for me because I already had meds and they already took xrays of my back. But these were new symptoms. The next day, I visited my ob-gyn who is my primary care physician. They set me up for an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. He told me to go to physical therapy and also that I had a cervical strain and whiplash. He prescribed me more muscle
relaxers and told me to continue taking the Ibuprofen. I have also seen a chiropractor and a pysical therapist. This happened three weeks ago and I’m still in pain. I can’t spend time with my baby because it hurts to pick him up. I can’t drive. I feel depressed at night. Do I have a case against Walmart? They should have known about the urine because it was in view of a register with 3 employees working and they walk in that aisle constantly for cell phones. There were no kids around at the time I was there. Could it be possible they didn’t want to clean it because it was urine and it’s disgusting?

How much is my case worth? The claims department has called and I missed it, so I called back and left a message but I haven’t heard from them yet. What do I do?

Answer: Your email does not indicate what state your accident occurred in. I am a Florida personal injury accidents lawyer specializing in Florida car accident, slip and fall, and workers compensation claims.  Laws vary from state to state so the laws in Florida may be different that where your incident occurred.  My best advice to you is to speak with an experienced slip and fall injury attorney in your area as soon as possible.

The first thing you need to know, at least under the Florida personal injury accidents laws, is that stores such as Wal Mart are not responsible for injuries arising out of a slip and fall in their store unless the condition that caused the slip and fall 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 facts to examine to try and satisfy this burden of proof.  It will probably be difficult to prove that Wal Mart actually knew the urine was there, but there are other ways to show that they should have known it was there.  Having a spill on the floor near store cash register employees, especially 3 of them, is a very good way of proving "constructive notice", i.e. that the Store should have known about the problem.

I have dealt with Wal Mart on many Florida personal injury accidents cases.  Wal Mart will not pay much attention to your claim without an attorney. Handling Wal Mart claims is a bit of a specialty as they have voluminous written procedures and video on how the store is to be cleaned, inspected, and what is to be done in the event of a spill, accident and/or injury.  Most experienced slip and fall lawyers have handled cases against Wal Mart before.  The attorney will know that Wal Mart claims are handled out of Bentonville, AR by inhouse adjustors.  To 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 an attorney, I would do it before you speak to Wal Mart.

Your claim has one advantage over many other slip and falls, and that is the employee’s comment about the urine.  I don’t know how the employee knew the substance was urine, versus some other liquid, but his statement is not one that would sit well with a jury.  Assuming you have decent damages, i.e., the extent of your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, it seems like a case Wal Mart would want to settle before going to Court.  From what you have described about the pain still existing 3 weeks after the accident, and the doctor’s recommendations for physical therapy and to treat with an orthopedic, your case most likely has sufficient damages to pursue a claim.

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.

If your accident occurred in Florida, please give me a call.  I would be interested in pursuing the claim for you.

Good Luck.

For more information about Florida personal injury accidents, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlaywers.com, or email him today.

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