Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail store owned by Wal-Mart. Sam’s uses a format similar to other membership-only warehouses. They offer a wide array of products often sold in bulk in order to maximize value to the customer. Sam’s Club has 12 different stores scattered throughout the state in Annapolis, Baltimore, Catonsville, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown, Laurel, Owings Mills, Salisbury, Severn, Timonium, and Waldorf.
Sam’s Club is the brainchild of Wal-Mart and is named after its founder, Sam Walton. The company has been around since 1982 and is headquartered in Arkansas. While other warehouse stores tend to be regional, Sam’s Club has the most reach, with 638 locations in the United States and another 38 worldwide.
These warehouse stores are dangerous. Not just Sam’s Club. They all are. There is just a plethora of things that can happen that can cause injury to one of the store’s customers. Sam’s Club locations are typically packed with people traversing through small aisles, which are nestled between intricately stacked displays and pallets. Add in a legion of employees who could be undertrained or inexperienced and might be operating equipment… it is hard to avoid accidents when you combine these elements.
Accidents at Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club are usually packed with people during peak times. Making your way through the store can often be difficult. Still, packed aisles are not the only contributor to accidents. The displays at Sam’s Clubs aren’t really displays, they are stacks of merchandise. On top of that, employees are forced to move this merchandise around using heavy machinery. Compared to other stores, employees have much more responsibility at Sam’s Club. But to make the numbers work, Sam’s Club cannot pay their people a great wage. With low wages comes high employee turnover and an inability to always recruit the best people. Mistakes happen often.
When they fail to live up to their responsibilities, they should be held accountable. Stores like Sam’s Club can be held accountable for their negligence when a premises liability lawsuit is filed against them. Our lawyers’ job it to do just that for our clients: hold negligent parties accountable for the injuries and harm they cause.
Bringing a Case Against Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is essentially Wal-Mart who owns the company. Wal-Mart fights hard. You need an attorney who can fight back. An attorney will research the case to determine whether Sam’s Club was liable for any injuries suffered. In doing so, they investigate whether their client was 1) injured on Sam’s Club property; 2) injured because of a hazardous condition that was present due to Sam’s Club’s negligence; and whether 3) Sam’s was negligent in their responsibility to keep them safe. Although it is impossible to keep every store 100% safe, Sam’s has a duty to ensure that their stores are kept reasonably safe.
Sample Sam’s Club Cases
Here are some sample verdicts involving Sam’s Club. These are sample cases. Please do not think of them as perfect predictors of your case’s value. But sometimes samples in conjunction with other resources can be instructive.
- 2012, New Jersey: $1,000,000 Verdict – A woman is shopping for chicken at Sam’s Club that she intends to resell. A Sam’s Club employee stacks boxes of chicken on her cart, but does so to the point where the woman cannot see over the stacked boxes. As a result, she crashes into another woman. The other woman suffers a large laceration as a result of the crash and is confined to a wheelchair. She sues Sam’s Club and the customer who was pushing the cart. Sam’s attempts to pin all of the blame on the customer, saying they should have kept a better lookout. The case ultimately goes to trial, where the jury determines that Sam’s is 70% responsible for the accident, awarding the plaintiff $1,000,000.
- 2011, Florida: $789,000 Verdict – An elderly woman shops at Sam’s Club when an empty pallet cart bumps her. This causes her to fall to the ground, hurting both her wrist and her back. She is taken to the ER, where doctors diagnose her with a fractured wrist and aggravation to a previous back injury. She must undergo surgery on her wrist and her back. The woman decides to sue Sam’s Club, claiming that the cart should have been attended to by an employee. She alleges that she is prevented from doing a number of recreational activities due to her injuries. The defense claims that the injuries are related to age, not the fall. Regardless, the jury awards the woman $789,000, but finds her 2% liable for the accident.
- 2009, Maryland: $9,718 Verdict – A woman stops by Sam’s Club to buy an outdoor fire pit. She needs some help getting the pit down from a high display. As employees begin to lower the pit, it breaks loose and crashes into her arm. She suffers a wrist injury that requires surgery, and she claims to suffer a torn rotator cuff. She struggles using her right hand after the accident, and must primarily use her left hand to accomplish tasks. She sues Sam’s Club, claiming that the employees were negligent in handling the fire pit. Sam’s denied liability and questions the extent of the plaintiff’s damages. The plaintiff “won” this case but clearly the jury did not believe that all of her injuries were related to the accident or were as serious as she claimed. I’m sure Sam’s Club’s lawyer viewed this case a win.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to Sam’s Club’s negligence, contact the attorneys at Miller & Zois. We have years of experience when it comes to premises liability, we can put your case in a position win or get a favorable settlement. Call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.