Everyone know who Wal-Mart is. It is the world's largest company by revenue in 2014 and the largest non-governmental employer. It is also thought to be the most frequently sued private personal injury claims defendant in the country.Wal-Mart Injury Claims
Wal-Mart gets sued nearly 20 times a day, close to 5,000 lawsuits each year. A lot of these lawsuits have been by Wal-Mart's employees bringing employment discrimination and wage and hour claims, mostly involving overtime. Our law firm handles only personal injury cases. This article is about personal injury tort claims against Wal-Mart.
Why a Wal-Mart specific page? Wal-Mart is a big defendant and there are some aspects about suing Wal-Mart and fighting this company in court that are different from dealing with other companies. It does not reflect any particular animosity towards Wal-Mart. A quick survey of our law firm shows almost all of our lawyers shop there. But it is the rare big large company that is even-handed when it comes to claims and litigation.
Wal-Mart is no exception to that rule. Wal-Mart has a reputation of being particularly aggressive. In some ways, the company is like their shoppers: Wal-Mart wants to get the best deal that it can. But, in this case, Wal-Mart getting the best deal that it can means not giving the victims that it hurts and kills by its negligence reasonable compensation for the harm it causes. That is not justice.How Wal-Mart Handles Claims
Wal-Mart has set up a subsidiary called Claims Management, Inc. act as its own third-party insurance adjuster. Claims Management manages, values, and track claims against the parent company. It does all of the legwork on processing claims, getting information from the victims, trying got get recorded statements, and so forth. You will feel like you are dealing with a separate company that might give you the feel that you are dealing with a third party who might treat you more fairly. Ultimately, you are dealing with Wal-Mart.Wal-Mart Fights Like an Insurance Company... But Harder
Generally speaking, it is easier to fight against a large corporation than it is to fight an insurance company. Why? Because insurance companies often have in-house counsel -- paid attorney employees -- to challenge their claims. Even big companies need to hire lawyers. Which makes settling claims before a lawsuit is filed more advantageous. Large companies often do not want to have their reputations besmirched by being the subject of many lawsuits. This also acts an incentive to settle cases more quickly.
Wal-Mart seemingly cares little about these things. It acts a lot like an insurance company. It does not fear its reputation will be tarnished by litigation (unless maybe someone real famous is involved). It is not particularly concerned about legal fees.
The one way Wal-Mart is different from an insurance company is that it fights harder. The company aggressively challenges personal injury lawsuits even when it makes economic sense to settle the claim. This is probably to discourage the filing of lawsuits. But it has not worked.
But win or lose, Wal-Mart desperately wants to make plaintiffs' lawyers feel like they have been in a fight. Getting documents from them in litigation is always World War III. Wal-Mart has been sanctioned by judges around the country for not producing documents and frustrating legitimate fact finding by the plaintiffs' attorneys.
Can they be beaten? Absolutely. The deciding factor in most lawsuits against Wal-Mart or any other defendant in this country is the facts. The side that should win usually does win That is the good news. The bad news that in the average settlement on a Wal-Mart claim is that you are going to have to fight to get what you deserve. Getting fairly compensated is likely going to require that you retain a personal injury lawyer.Wal-Mart Verdicts and Settlements
Below are summaries of some successful verdicts and settlements around the country. We did not pull these at random so please do not think these are a representative sampling or that they can tell you by themselves the value of your or your client's case, even if you have similar facts.
- March 2013, Texas: $199,112 Verdict: A 42-year-old clerical worker slipped and fell while walking in the meat department of an El Paso Wal-Mart. She was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room where she was treated for disc herniations and bulges as well as a sprained right ankle, an annular tear and a torn ligament in her right knee. She sued Wal-Mart and claimed the employees had washed the concrete floor with a mechanical scrubber that had been excessively filled with soap and used an incorrect mop. Plaintiff also claimed that Defendant failed to place wet floor signs. Defendant denied liability, claiming the floor had fully dried at the time of the fall and argued Plaintiff’s disc injuries were pre-existing conditions. An El Paso jury found Defendant liable for Plaintiff’s injuries and returned a $199,112 verdict.
- February 2013, Louisiana: $130,110 Verdict: A 37-year-old woman was walking through a Wal-Mart in Lafayette when she slipped and fell on a wet and soapy floor. She sustained knee, foot and shoulder injuries – all of which required surgical repair. She sued Wal-Mart for failing to warn of the potential fall hazard. While Defendant admitted wet floor signs were not placed at the time of the accident, they contended the extent of Plaintiff’s injuries. Defendant argued Plaintiff merely sustained a bruised foot, and any additional injuries were pre-existing. The matter continued to trial where a Lafayette jury rendered a $130,110 verdict for the Plaintiff.
- December 2012, Texas: $254,176 Verdict: A 36-year-old man was in the receiving area of a Wal-Mart in Dallas to service a trash compactor. When he went to ring the buzzer, he received an electrical shock that caused him to quickly jerk his arm back, resulting in a partial right rotator cuff tear. He sued Wal-Mart for failing to repair the dangerous condition, claiming the buzzer had been broken by a Wal-Mart forklift and left the wires exposed. Wal-Mart denied negligence, claiming the wires were not exposed, and the voltage could not have caused the injuries. Defendant’s orthopaedic surgery expert said the shoulder injury was degenerative and unrelated. A Dallas County jury found Defendant negligent and awarded the Plaintiff $254,176.
- November 2012, Texas: $27,500,000 Verdict: An 18-year-old man was riding as a passenger in a pickup truck one evening on State Highway 44. The conditions of the road were wet and the driver’s tires were badly worn. The vehicle hydroplaned, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle, ultimately resulting in a crash that killed the 18-year-old. Five months before the accident, the driver took the truck to Wal-Mart in Alice for a “15-point service” that included an overall vehicle inspections – including a full tire inspection. The decedent’s parents sued both the driver and Wal-Mart for negligence. Plaintiff’s claiming Defendant Driver was speeding as eyewitness testimony claimed Defendant Driver was travelling as fast as 85 mph before the accident. Plaintiffs also sued Wal-Mart for failing to inspect properly the tires or take accurate tread depth measurements. Both Defendants denied liability and claimed the other was at fault. A Duval County jury found Defendant Driver and Defendant Wal-Mart 12% and 88% liable, respectively, and awarded Plaintiffs $27,500,000.
- October 2011, Florida: $22,500 Settlement: Parents of a young boy had purchased a bicycle for their son at a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville. While attempting to ride his brand new bike, the handlebars came loose causing the young boy to crash into a bridge railing. The boy’s parents sued Wal-Mart for negligence, claiming Defendant failed to secure properly the handlebars to the bike. Wal-Mart denied allegations, claiming Plaintiffs were negligent in failing to maintain the bike properly and that Plaintiffs assumed the risk. The parties agreed to settle prior to trial for $22,500.00.
Our lawyers handle Wal-Mart personal injury claims in Maryland. If you have been injured as the result of negligence of this company, call 800-553-8083 to speak to a lawyer or get a free Internet consultation.