This article is about general accident claims, other than slip and falls, against Walmart in Florida. I wrote separates articles on:
- Slip and fall accident claims against Walmart in Florida
- Trip and fall accident claims against Walmart in Florida
This article may also apply to injury claims against Sam’s Club (owned by Walmart). It also applies to other Florida discount department stores, warehouse stores and other stores. However, I focus on Walmart.
Let’s take a look at few personal injury cases against Walmart.
Freeman v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2014 (Coming Soon)
Martino v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 908 So.2d 342, 346 (Fla.2005)
In Martino, Ronna Martino sued Wal-mart Stores, Inc. The case was appealed to Florida’s Supreme Court.
The court issued an opinion in 2005. This case is still good law so you should know it.
West Palm Beach, Florida attorneys represented the injured woman. A Coral Gables, Florida lawyer represented Walmart.
The personal injury claims and verdicts in this article are not mine unless I say that they are.
In March 1997, Ronna Martino (Martino) went to a Wal-Mart store in Royal Palm Beach. In addition to other items, Martino placed two forty-pound bags of salt in her shopping cart.
When checking out, Martino placed all of her items except the bags of salt on the counter for the cashier. According to Martino, the cashier then asked Martino to lift up the bags of salt so that the cashier could scan the price code.
Martino attempted to comply with the cashier’s request, placing one bag of salt on the top of the shopping cart where a child would sit. As she placed the salt on top of the shopping cart, the cart collapsed, and Martino injured her arm. Martino then completed the sale and went home.
Martino said that once she returned home, she called the Wal-Mart store and asked to speak to the manager. Her call was answered by the assistant manager, who advised her to go to the hospital to have her arm checked and then return to Wal-Mart to fill out an incident report.
Martino said that during the conversation with Wal-Mart’s assistant manager, Martino informed him where he could find the shopping cart in the parking lot.
After her visit to the hospital, Martino returned to Wal-Mart and filled out an incident report. Martino said that while she was at the store, she showed the assistant manager where the shopping cart was in the parking lot.
Martino requested that he obtain the videotape of the incident from the surveillance camera inside the store. On August 26, 1999, Martino sued Wal-Mart, claiming that Wal-Mart was negligent in:
- its inspection and maintenance of the store’s shopping carts (the “negligent maintenance” theory) and
- in failing to properly train store employees regarding appropriate procedures for scanning and customer handling of heavy items (the “negligent mode of operation” theory).
Martino’s husband also asserted a claim for loss of consortium.
During discovery in the lawsuit, Martino requested the shopping cart and a copy of the video surveillance tape. Walmart could not produce either item, Martino alleging a separate claim for spoliation of evidence.
The Florida Supreme Court said that in the past it held that when evidence was intentionally lost, misplaced, or destroyed by one party, trial courts were to rely on sanctions found in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.380(b)(2) and that “a jury could well infer from such a finding that the records would have contained indications of negligence.”
If the loss of the evidence was determined to be negligent, a rebuttable presumption of negligence for the underlying tort applied. However, the presumption only applied when “the absence of evidence hinders the injured person’s ability to establish a prima facie case.
This rebuttable presumption shifted the burden of proof under section 90.302(2), Florida Statutes, so that the presumption is not overcome until jury believes that the presumed negligence has been overcome by whatever degree of persuasion is required by the law of the case.
The case was allowed to go forward to trial.
Settlement Value of Your Injury Case against a Florida Walmart.
If a Florida Walmart’s negligence caused your injury, the value of the case will largely depend on the pain and suffering component of the particular injury.
You also may be entitled to get your medical bills and lost wages paid in addition to money for pain and suffering.
Settlement Values for Pain and Suffering Component of Different Injuries
Different body parts have a different value for the pain and suffering component.
Who handles Walmart’s Claims for Florida Accidents?
According to a Claims Management article dated 7/24/12, Max says he works closely with operations, safety and risk control teams to make sure that Walmart is a safe place for its employees to work and customers to shop.
Max Koonce will not handle the injured victim’s case. Walmart has a huge in-house claims operation.
Walmart has a wholly owned TPA subsidiary, Claims Management Inc.. Walmart has 600 associates in that organization who are in charge of the claims management process.
Claims Management, Inc manages 34 states for workers’ compensation. It uses TPAs for 16 other states.
Claims Management also handles general liability claims. These include injuries to customers caused by Walmart’s negligence.
What claims does Walmart spend the most money on?
Max says that Walmart’s greatest financial exposure for claims is workers’ compensation. He says that Walmart focuses on getting the associates to return to work and functional ability.
How Do You Notify Walmart of a Personal Injury Claim?
You should notify Walmart of your personal injury claim by sending a certified (return receipt requested) letter to both of the addresses below:
Claims Management Inc.
PO Box 1288
Bentonville, AR 72716-1288
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
I had some difficulty finding the fax numbers for Walmart stores online. This is a sample letter notifying Walmart of your injury claim and requesting that they preserve store surveillance video and other evidence.
Claims Management has been good at calling my office to check the status of my client’s treatment. This is refreshing. I applaud Walmart for it. I have dealt with other insurers and getting a call back can be a rarity.
Written Notice of the Injury Claim to Walmart
Send a certified mail return receipt letter to the actual store where you fell. The purpose of this letter is so that Walmart can open up a claim for you and preserve any evidence that may help you prove your case.
When the claims adjuster from Walmart calls you, do NOT give a recorded statement. You are not required to give a statement. You do not benefit by giving a recorded statement. It can only hurt you.
I would not even give an unrecorded statement until you have a seen the video of the incident and you are completely finished getting all the medical treatment that you need.
Do not give a recorded statement to the Walmart claims adjuster. You are putting yourself at a disadvantage if you do. Sometimes the disadvantage can be huge.
Just because a claims adjuster is friendly does not mean that he or she will pay you to settle your case. Walmart injury claims adjusters probably have been handling cases for many years.
They may be seasoned at getting statements from shoppers who are injured at Walmart.
They may ask you a question that seems like it is not important to you. One word in your answer may kill your case. This is even more true if you give a recorded statement.
Most victims do not even know when their case has been lost after speaking with the claims adjuster.
You may think that you are on great terms and Walmart will gladly take care of your claim.
Even if Walmart asks for your medical bills or proof of your lost wages, this does not mean that they are going to pay them.
Although the standard letter that I send Walmart requests its insurance information, in most cases with Walmart you should not be overly concerned about its insurer because it is self-insured for a large amount. In the more serious cases (multiple surgeries, brain injuries, etc.), there may be multiple layers of liability insurance coverage.
Slip and Fall Claims against Walmart in Florida
Learn about slip and fall claims against Walmart in Florida.
Online Settlement Calculator in a Florida Injury Case Against Walmart
If a Florida Walmart’s carelessness caused your injury, I strongly suggest that you do not value your case based on an online settlement calculator.
There are many reasons why settlement calculators may not work for a Florida injury case. This is true regardless of whether you are looking at my Florida injury settlement calculator or one that someone else made.
If an item falls from a shelve and hits you, Walmart may be at fault and have to pay for your damages. Whether Walmart is at fault for the accident depends upon whether what you were doing at the time you were struck was reasonable.
If you were reaching for an object that was within reach and it fell, this helps your case. If you were standing on your “tippy toes” or jumping to get a product on the shelve, then this hurts your case.
You can be certain that Walmart will argue that you should have known that the object was loose and was going to fall. Walmart may say that you should have asked for help instead of trying to grab the item without assistance that was high on the shelf.
If Walmart is correct, the value of your personal injury case will be reduced by your negligence (fault).
Walmart Employee Injures You
If you are walking in Walmart and you are injured by an employee, you may have a personal injury case against Walmart. The most common ways that a Walmart employee can injured you are as follows:
– An employee rolls or pushes a pallet jack over your foot or into you.
– An employee pushes a cart into you.
– An employee walks into you.
– An employee drops a heavy object on you.
If are injured by a Walmart employee in one of the above ways, you may have a case against Walmart. This means that Walmart may be responsible to pay for your damages (medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering). Walmart will probably argue that you were not looking where you were going and that your damages should be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you or your children are running through Walmart, and an employee walks into you or your children, you have a more difficult case than if you were standing still or walking at a reasonable speed.
If your child is injured and he or she is under the age of six, then Walmart generally cannot place fault on your child. But you would still need to show that a Walmart employee was careless and this caused your child’s injuries.
Trip and falls
Defective Product Claims against Walmart in Florida
Walmart may sell a customer a dangerous product that causes injury. If so, the injured person may have an injury case against Walmart.
The victim may also have a case against the distributor and manufacturer.
Injury Claims against Walmart Tire–Lube Express operations in Florida
Someone may have their tires or oil serviced at a Walmart in Florida. The job may be done carelessly. If this carelessness caused injury to the customer, he or she may have a case against Walmart.
Injured by a Crime on Walmart Property.
Walmart has a duty (obligation) to make its property safe. If you are injured by a crime (a shooting, rape, murder, etc.) inside or outside of a Walmart, you may have a case against both the Walmart and the company that manages or owns the shopping center.
Learn about Walmart truck accident cases in Florida.
Time limit to sue Walmart in Florida.
If Walmart’s negligence caused your injury while you were a guest in a Florida store, then you have 4 years to sue Walmart. There is a time limit within which you must report your work-related accident to your employer.
How long does it take to settle a case with Walmart?
There are many different factors that affect how long an injury case may take to settle. There is no guarantee that Walmart will offer to settle your claim.
Personal injury cases against Walmart should take a similar time to settle as compared with accident cases at other stores or other business establishments. Business establishments include supermarket, hotel, motels and resorts, shopping malls, etc.
This is because most businesses have a liability insurance of $1 Million dollars. 99.9% of cases are worth much less than $1 Million dollars.
Walmart’s Self-Insurance Reserves
Walmart’s 2014 Annual Report states:
“The Company uses a combination of insurance, self-insured retention (SIR) and self-insurance for a number of risks, including, but not limited to, workers’ compensation, general liability, vehicle liability, property…The Company also maintains stop-loss insurance coverage for workers’ compensation and general liability of $5 million and $15 million, respectively, per occurrence, to limit exposure to certain risks.”
Stop-loss insurance (also known as excess insurance) is a product that provides protection for Walmart by serving as a reimbursement mechanism for catastrophic claims exceeding pre-determined levels.
Examples of catastrophic injury are:
a. Spinal cord injury involving severe paralysis of an arm, a leg, or the trunk;
b Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of that appendage;
c. Severe brain or closed-head injury as evidenced by:
c1. Severe sensory or motor disturbances;
c2. Severe communication disturbances;
c3 Severe complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function;
c4. Severe episodic neurological disorders; or
c5. Other severe brain and closed-head injury conditions at least as severe in nature as any condition provided in sub-subparagraphs c1-c4.;
d. Second-degree or third-degree burns of 25 percent or more of the total body surface or third-degree burns of 5 percent or more to the face and hands;
e. Blindness, defined as a complete and total loss of vision; or
f. Loss of reproductive organs which results in an inability to procreate.
Walmart is rarely pressured to settle a personal injury case
Walmart’s insurer is rarely pressured to settle a personal injury case.
This is because the general liability limits are so high. Walmart’s negligence may cause a victim’s catastrophic injury. If so, the victim’s claim against Walmart may take longer to settle than if a smaller business hurt him or her.
Smaller businesses a typically have a general liability insurance policy which has a $1 Million dollar limit.
The full value of a catastrophic injury case be worth more than $1 Million dollars. This would put pressure on a small business liability insurer to pay the $1 Million dollar limits quickly (if you were catastrophically injured).
Otherwise, the insurer risks a bad faith lawsuit for failure to act in good faith and pay the limits quickly. The insurer would then possibly have to pay above the insurance limits. Insurers hate that.
What should you do if you are injured at a Florida Walmart?
a. Call 911 if it is an emergency.
b. Take an ambulance to the hospital if necessary.
c. Quickly Report the claim to the store manager.
If you slipped and fell on a substance, assuming your pain has not immobilized you, you should immediately report your fall to the store.
d. Take pictures of the dangerous substance or debris and the area
Immediately take pictures and video of the substance that you slipped on as well as the area where you fell. Do not just take 1 close up picture of the substance (e.g. water, a grape, oil, etc.) on which you fell.
Take pictures that show the layout of the aisle(s) or area where you fell, including any coupons that may have distracted you while you were walking. If you are unable to take pictures, have a friend take them.
You can be sure that a Walmart employee will take pictures of the area where you fell.
Walmart has many video cameras throughout the store. Walmart’s video cameras may even pick up audio. Do not assume that just because there are video cameras in the area of your fall that they were working at the time of your accident.
Some of the video cameras may be “dummy” (fake) cameras and not work. Do not assume that Walmart will keep this video if it exists.
e. Get names and contact information of any witnesses.
You want contact information of any witnesses who saw your fall, saw the area where you fell, or saw the substance that you fell on. As soon as possible, you want to have each witness sign an affidavit – a sworn statement – stating what they observed.
This is a sample witness affidavit that I used in a trip and fall case at a condominium complex where the total settlement was $75,000. Every settlement on this website is before our attorney’s fees and expenses.
Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
Juror sympathy for Walmart in Florida
Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. However, Walmart’s claim adjuster will evaluate the case as if it is going to trial.
In general, if all other things are equal, a juror is more sympathetic (more likely to favor ) to the injured person than they are to a huge corporation such as Walmart.
This is because it is difficult for jurors to put themselves in the shoes of a $244 Billion dollar corporation such as Walmart. But ultimately the facts of your case are what will decide the outcome.
Walmart Employee Accidents in Florida
Workers Compensation Claims
One of the advantages of a personal injury claim is that you may be entitled to compensation for noneconomic damages (e.g. pain, suffering, etc.).
Group Voluntary Accident Coverage
Allstate Benefits offers Walmart employees Group Voluntary Accident coverage. It is also known as Limited Benefit Supplemental Accident Insurance.
This provides cash benefits for out-of-pocket expenses related to an accidental injury. It can help protect the Walmart employee if he or she has an off-the-job injury in Florida.
Most major medical insurance plans just pay part of the bills. Group Voluntary Accident coverage pays for bills that other major medical insurance does not pay for.
It gives the employee cash to cover the expenses. Car accidents or an accident on vacation may cause an accidental injury and out-of-pocket expenses.
Who is the best Florida injury lawyer for cases against Walmart? Who is the best Miami accident attorney for cases against Walmart?
Florida attorneys are ethically prohibited from saying that they are “the best.” Therefore, a Florida lawyer cannot say that he or she is the best Florida Walmart injury lawyer or Miami Walmart accident attorney.
Florida lawyers can talk about their experience representing and settling cases for Florida injury victims. I enjoy fighting for my clients’ rights if a Florida store’s carelessness caused them to get hurt.
We will take a look at a few common injuries that can occur at Walmart.
If a Florida Walmart’s negligence caused your shoulder injury, such as a rotator cuff or labrum tear, AC join tear, broken humerus or broken clavicle, it may be worth a significant amount of money.
We have settled non-Walmart Florida rotator cuff tear and labrum tear cases. Some have settled for $210,000, $147,000, $65,000, $57,000, $18,000, $10,000.
The reason for this large settlement range is because many factors affect a shoulder injury case. The best thing about a rotator cuff or labrum tear case against a Florida Walmart is that they have the money to pay for the true settlement value of the case.
Fractured Wrist or Hand
My Other Articles on Walmart Accident Claims in Florida
- Walmart slip and fall injury claims in Florida
- Walmart trip and fall injury claims in Florida
- Slip and fall on clear water claim against Walmart in Kissimmee, Florida
- Slip and fall on slippery substance claim against Florida Walmart dismissed
- Court refuses to dismiss trip and fall on plastic claim vs. Walmart in Pinellas County, Florida
Which Florida Walmart Stores Have Been Sued for Negligence?
Walmart has stores throughout Florida. Personal injury claims and/or lawsuits have been filed against Florida Walmart throughout Florida.
Some claims for personal injury arose from Walmart’s alleged negligence in the following stores:
Miami, Doral, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Miami Gardens, North Miami Beach, Miramar, Cooper city, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Goulds, Davie, Homestead, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Florida City, Sunrise, Lauderale Lakes, Sunrise, North Lauderdale, Pompano, Orlando, Ocoee, Apopka, Casselberry, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Altamonte Springs, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Plantation, West Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Lake Park, Greenacres, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Jupiter, Lantana, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Lakeland, Lake Wales, New Smyrna Beach, Tampa, Oldsmar, Brandon, Riverview, Seffner, Pinellas Park, Largo, St Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, New Port Richey, Starkey, Plant City, Palm Harbor, St Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, South Pasadena, Sarasota, Braden River, Bradenton, Osprey, Palmetto, Jacksonville, Yulee, Orange Park, Macclenny, Fruit Cove, Fernandina Beach, Middleburg, Chipley, De Funiak Springs, Panama City, Callaway, Lynn Haven, Panama City Beach, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Santa Rosa Beach, Ocala, The Villages, Summerfield, Tallahassee, Crawfordville, Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Palm Bay, West Melbourne, Melbourne, Indian Harbour Beach, Sebastian, Clermont, St Cloud, Palatka, Stuart, Perry and more.
Where is Walmart’s Home Office?
Who are Wal-mart Stores’ competitors in Florida?
Walmart has a lot of competition in Florida. I have written articles about cases where a Walmart competitor was careless and someone got hurt.
In Florida, personal injury cases against Walmart’s competitors are similar to claims against Walmart. Some of Walmart’s competitors in Florida are:
- Big Lots
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Costco Wholesale
- Dillard’s (in Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale and more.)
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree
- Family Dollar Stores
- Five Below
- J. C. Penney
- Kohl’s (in West Kendall, Florida and more. One of my wife’s favorite stores.)
- Publix Supermarkets
- Target Stores
- Tuesday Morning (In Miami and more)
Over 86 factors affect the settlement value of a case if a Florida Walmart’s carelessness caused someone’s injury.
An injury claim against a Florida Walmart is similar to a case against a Florida supermarket.
Did Walmart’s negligence cause your injury in Florida? Did someone else’s negligence cause your accident and injury in Florida?
See Our Settlements
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidents, slip or trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, drunk driving (DUI) accidents, pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, taxi accidents, bicycle accidents, store or supermarket accidents and much more.
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Our Miami law firm represents people injured anywhere in Florida in car accidents, truck accidents, slip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian accidents and many other types of accidents.
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.