Walmart has 5,200 stores across the United States, and an estimated 138 million customers enter those stores every week. At least 160 of the retailer’s stores are scattered around California. The gigantic size of Walmart stores and low staffing coupled with the number of customers in the stores 24 hours a day make accidents inevitable. The victims are usually Walmart customers. Although these accidents usually occur inside of Walmart stores, they can happen outside too in any parking lot or on any sidewalk.
The general rule is that the owner of real estate that has a parking lot and sidewalks is responsible for their care and maintenance. Those areas must be reasonably safe for the people using them. This includes adequate lighting, repairing uneven surfaces, patching cracks that people might trip over and filling holes that they might trip in. While we do not get snow in Los Angeles, if a slip and fall or trip and fall occurred in a part of California that’s prone to seasonal snow and ice, the general rule is that the owner or occupier of the land has no duty to remove those accumulations. If that owner or occupier chooses to remove snow or ice, removal cannot be done negligently.
The causes of interior Walmart accidents and injuries are as diverse as the people who shop there. They include but certainly aren’t limited to:
- Oily or wet floors
- Uneven floors
- Merchandise or debris in aisles
- Shelving or rack bases obstructing aisles
- Falling storage shelves, racks, displays and merchandise
- Electrical accidents
Walmart’s Liability for Accidents
The general rule in California is that a business isn’t liable for every injury that occurs inside or outside of the premises that it occupies. It might be held liable if:
- Its employees knew or reasonably should have known of a condition that presented an unreasonable risk of harm
- They failed to take reasonable measures to eliminate the condition
- If the condition could not be readily eliminated, they failed to take reasonable measures to warn of the condition
- The failure to take such reasonable care resulted in injuries
What to Do in Case of an Injury
If you’re injured in a Walmart, insist that paramedics be called so you can be transported to a hospital. Paramedics will detail all subjective and objective symptoms in their records, and emergency room personnel will provide further diagnostics, care, and treatment. By far that’s the best way to start documenting your accident and injuries. Don’t provide Walmart with any type of written statement.
Walmart is Self-Insured
Victims of Walmart accidents who make claims against the company might be contacted by insurance adjusters from Claims Management, Inc. (CMI) which is the claims administrator for Walmart and a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The adjuster from CMI will immediately want a recorded statement from the claimant. The CMI representative might imply that he or she has a right to a statement. Neither CMI or Walmart has such a right at that point in time. He or she might also state that giving a statement will help get the claimant’s bills paid. That’s simply not true either. When Walmart turns into its own insurance company, its goal is just like any other insurance company. That goal is to pay out as little on claims as possible. Never give a statement of any kind to any Walmart representative about how an accident occurred or the nature and extent of your injuries without speaking to an attorney first.
Don’t Think that Walmart has Accepted Liability
Many people infer that Walmart has accepted responsibility for their accident after speaking with a CMI representative and cooperating with CMI’s investigation. Sometime in the future they learn that their claim has been denied. Again, there’s no legal duty to cooperate with an opposing insurer’s investigation of an injury claim. People often severely damage their cases by cooperating. They may not know or understand the claims and litigation processes or the type of people that they’re dealing with.
CMI might argue that all or part of your injuries were your own fault because you weren’t watching where you were going. That’s known as the law of comparative negligence. California is what’s known as a pure comparative negligence state. Even if you are 51 percent at fault or more for an accident, you can still recover damages. We will carefully consider any allegations of comparative negligence against you.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
Remember that from the moment that you’re greeted at the entrance to any Walmart until such time as you leave, you’re on camera. Security camera footage might be the best witness that you have in a Walmart injury case. Rather than giving up your rights, protect and invoke them by contacting our offices for a free consultation and case evaluation right away after suffering an injury on Walmart property. If we’re retained to represent you, we don’t even get paid any legal fees unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. There’s no reason not to contact us. We know how to deal with Walmart, CMI, and their lawyers.