Florida Slip and Fall Cases at Wal Mart – Expert Advice

December 12, 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:

My elderly mother fell in WalMart nearly 3 years ago and the case is still in litigation. The store was being remodeled and where they had moved a shelf to prepare to replace the floor, a small piece of tile was missing. Her foot struck this indention and she went down, breaking her shoulder and causing massive damage to the point that my sister and myself had to dress her, wash her her hair and numerous other tasks she needed 2 hands to accomplish. She lost so much of the use of her arm that she is severely limited. Of course now, 3 years later, she has also had a stroke and is paralyzed on that same side. Will WalMart attorneys likely downplay her injuries to the jury and make it seem like her stroke was the real problem? Just curious as to what to expect once we get into court. We have mediation in a couple of weeks so I’m hoping that things get settled before we get to court. Thanks for your time.

Your email does not indicate what state you are from.  I am a Florida accident lawyer specializing in car accident, Florida slip and fall cases and workers compensation claims.  Laws vary from state to state, so you should speak with your mother’s attorney to get accurate advice.

Your attorney should be sitting down with you in the next week or so to let you know what to expect at mediation, and if the case does not settle at mediation, what to expect at trial.  The large majority of cases that go to mediation settle, so I would say that your mother’s case has a decent shot at settling.  However, I know very little about her case, so you are best to speak with your attorney about the chances of settling prior to trial.  He may have already spoken to Wal Mart’s attorneys and has an idea whether the case may settle at mediation.

Wal Mart’s attorneys, and all insurance defense attorneys, will use any potential defense available to them.  If Wal Mart’s attorney thinks that he/she can convince a jury that some or all of your mother’s problems are due to the stroke, versus the fall, you can bet that the attorney will try to do that.

Your attorney should be able to distinguish between the two events by using testimony from family and friends about the effect the fall had on your mother, even prior to the stroke.  Your attorney will also use your mother’s medical records after the fall to show how much of an effect the shoulder injury had on her activities of daily living – work, taking care of herself, spouse or family, leisure activities such as exercise or sports, volunteer work she may have done.  Your attorney will try to paint a picture of an active, healthy lifestyle before the fall, with the fall causing a substantial decrease in your mother’s activities after the fall, but before the stroke.

One question that I have is whether any of your mother’s doctors would testify that the decrease in your mother’s activities due to the fall is what caused the stroke?  Or possibly the stroke was caused by medication that your mother began taking after the fall due to her injury?  These are issues I am sure your attorney is exploring.

In Florida slip and fall cases, as in most personal injury cases, mediation is the best opportunity to settle the case prior to trial.  You should contact your mother’s accident injury lawyer and set up a time to sit down with the attorney to discuss mediation.  You should discuss the amount of money the attorney is going to ask for at mediation, whether there have been any offers from Wal Mart so far, the risks of going to trial, and the strengths and weaknesses of your mother’s case.

For more information about your rights in a case of a Florida slip and fall injury, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at mauslawfirm.com or email him today.

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