If Walmart’s negligence caused you to slip, fall and get hurt, you may have a personal injury case.
In a personal injury case, you are making a claim to recover your damages. This article concentrates on Walmart slip and fall claims.
I wrote separate articles on:
What’s the Best Thing About a Slip and Fall Case Against Walmart?
Walmart has the money to pay even the biggest claim. This is no different than a slip and fall case against Walt Disney World or Universal Studios.
For example, let’s say that you slip and fall at Walmart. Let’s assume that Walmart’s carelessness caused a substance to be on the floor for hours before you fell. You slip and fall on the substance.
As a result of the slip and fall, you have a terrible herniated disc. In fact, it’s so bad that you have a pain pump put in your body. At least Walmart can afford to pay this claim. A case against Walmart isn’t like most car accident cases against a person where you often have to hope that they have BIL insurance.
What is the toughest part of your case if you fall at Walmart?
One of the biggest challenges is having a serious injury.
Walmart may have been careless, but if you’re not badly hurt your case is not worth much. For this reason, many attorneys (such as myself) won’t take a fall down case against Walmart if you are not seriously injured.
Because slip and fall (and other fall down) cases against Walmart take lots of work. To maximize the value of your fall down case, you typically need to:
- Send Walmart a written letter asking them to preserve video surveillance and evidence
- Notify (in writing) your health insurance company that you are making a claim against Walmart
- Request medical records and bills from the paramedics, the hospital and all of your doctors
- Send several emails and letters to Walmart
- Speak on the phone several times with Walmart Claims Services, Inc.
- Fight to negotiate your medical bills and health insurance down at the end of the case
- Send checks to your medical providers and health insurance company
Doing all of the above tasks takes a lot of time. For Walmart slip and fall lawyers, like myself, I need to be selective with the cases that I take. I can’t afford to take a case if my client went to the hospital one time and only has soft tissue injuries. It is simply not worth my time given my expenses and the cost of living.
If Walmart was negligent, and you fell and broke a bone that is a different. And if you’ve had surgery your case may be much better. This is because the full settlement value is higher.
What is the 2nd hardest part of a fall down case against Walmart?
The second hardest part of getting compensation is that Walmart must have done something wrong to cause you to fall and get injured. In many instances, Walmart did not do anything wrong. This means that even if you have a serious injury your case may be worthless.
That said, if Walmart caused a substance to get on the floor, or if they should have cleaned up the substance before you fell, they may be at fault. Similarly, if they should not have had something on the floor that you tripped on, you may have a good case.
Either way, always take photos of the substance or hazard that caused you to fall down at Walmart.
Should You Let Walmart Take Your Recorded Statement if You Slip and Fall?
No. However, you should report the claim to the store.
Don’t give a recorded statement to the Walmart’s claims handler. Walmart’s claims administrator is CMI. Walmart can use your recorded statement against you in your slip and fall case.
As an attorney, I would send a notice of claim to the Walmart store and CMI.
Other Prior Slip and Falls at Walmart May Increase Your Settlement Value
Many factors affect the settlement value of an injury case. One factor is the amount of past slip and falls at Walmart.
Past similar slip and falls can be used to show that Walmart was on notice that slippery floors were an issue. I am referring to notice before the shopper’s fall. This can, in turn, increase the case value.
Let’s look at a real case. It is not my case. Elizabeth Rivera was shopping at a Walmart in Flagler County, Florida. Flagler county is on the east coast of Florida. It’s largest city is Palm Coast.
While in the Walmart bathroom, Rivera claimed that she slipped and fell. She hired a lawyer.
In 2015, her attorney sued Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P. for her pain, suffering, medical bills and more.
During the lawsuit, Walmart admitted that there were 451 reported slip and falls in its bathrooms in its Florida stores. This is for the 5 years before October 28, 2018.
This admission will likely increase the value of Rivera’s personal injury lawsuit.
Because a jury may believe that Walmart knew (before Rivera fell) that its bathroom floors were slippery.
The shopper must prove that Walmart was careless. Otherwise, the shopper isn’t entitled to compensation.
All things equal, the more prior similar slip and falls that have occurred in Walmart on the same flooring, the better the injured person’s case.
Most slip and fall cases settle before trial. I imagine that this lawsuit has a high likelihood of settling before trial. The case is Elizabeth Rivera v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P. (2015-CA-000694).
Preserve Your Shoes and Clothing
Preserve (keep) the shoes and clothing that you were wearing at the time of the accident. If Walmart asks you to preserve them, and you destroy them, your case may be thrown out.
Keep your shoes and clothing in a box in your closet and do not wear them again until the case is settled.
Walmart may try to prove that you were partially at fault because your shoes or sandals did not have any traction on them.
Walmart Likely Won’t Have Medical Payments Coverage
Unlike some smaller stores, Walmart likely does not have “Medical Payments” coverage. “Medical payments” coverage would cover your medical bills up to certain amount regardless of fault.
The cases below are not mine unless I say that they are.
Walmart Offered Shopper $50K for Brain Injury from Trip and Fall
This is not my case. In 2015, Juan Fonseca was shopping at at the Wal-Mart Store located in Davie, Florida. He claimed that he suffered injuries as a result of tripping over hangers that were allegedly located on the floor of the apparel (ladies sleep ware) department. He hired a slip and fall attorney and sued Walmart.
Specifically, he claimed multiple injuries to his neck and back. Additionally, his treating doctors determined he sustained a traumatic brain injury for which he treated for in connection with his incident at Wal-Mart. He allegedly asked Walmart for hundreds of thousands of dollars for pain
and suffering, past medical expenses, and future medical care.
Walmart argued that before the fall, none of its employees actually knew that these hangers were on the floor. It also argued that Juan had not shown that the hangers were regularly on the floor at this Walmart.
Walmart hired 3 experts who each examined Juan. If you sue Walmart, they get to hire a doctor to examine you. Often times, Walmart’s doctors will say that the slip and fall did not cause your claimed injury.
Walmart’s experts were Dr. Kenneth Jarolem (orthopedist), Dr. Victor Barredo (Neurologist), Dr. Paul Koenigsberg (Radiologist), and Dr. Bonnie Levin (Neuropsychologist). It paid its 4 experts $27,847 in costs. Slip and fall cases against Walmart are not cheap!
In June 2019, Walmart made a $50,000 settlement offer to Juan. He did not accept Walmart’s settlement offer. In September 2020, the court dismissed the case because Juan had not shown that Walmart knew or should have known that hangers were on the floor before he slipped and fell. This means that Juan does not get any compensation.
It gets worse:
Since Juan lost the case, he owes Walmart $10,758.24 costs.
Walmart paid its attorneys between $165 and $185 per hour to defend it.
Court Approves Almost Entire $970K Verdict for Walmart Slip and Fall
This isn’t my case. Derrick Thornton was a career 52-year-old long haul driver.
He went to trial against Walmart on July 26, 2016. Thornton claimed that he was involved in an unwitnessed incident in which he slipped on water in the garden center on February 11, 2012.
He claimed injuries to his neck, low back, and right knee. At trial, the customer took the position that he shopped for barbecue grills in the garden center for between ten and fifteen minutes. He said that he didn’t see any other customers before he slipped and fell.
The implication is that droplets of water were present on the floor of the garden center for at least ten to fifteen minutes before he fell.
On the other hand, Walmart argued that the customer was looking at barbecue grills displayed along an outside wall in the garden center. Walmart argued that he had his back facing virtually all of the aisles in the garden center. It said that this prevented him from knowing whether, during that period of time, there were other shoppers in the area who could have left droplets of water.
Walmart’s attorney argued that the only testimony was that there was some drops of water on the floor and nothing more to substantiate Thornton’s claim. Walmart’s attorney claimed that similar slip and fall cases had been dismissed against Broward College, and a restaurant, before a jury could decide the case.
The court allowed the jury to see a list of about 50 “reported” incidents involving individuals who slipped on water at the store for the three-year period before the date of Thornton’s accident. Walmart argued that when it produced this list, it wasn’t admitting that the reported incidents are substantially similar to Thornton’s fall, or that they even happened.
Thornton’s attorney argued that this Walmart store had a “water problem.” However, Walmart argued that none of those 50 reported incidents occurred in the garden center.
$500K of the Verdict Was for Pain and Suffering
The jury awarded him the following:
- $320K for past medical expenses
$150K for future medical expenses
$300K for past pain and suffering
$200K for future pain and suffering
The jury put 100% of the fault for the fall on Walmart. Amazingly, they assigned zero blame on the shopper.
Walmart argued that his case should’ve been dismissed because he couldn’t prove that Walmart had notice that the water was on the floor before he fell. The appeals court approved the verdict.
However, the appeals court said that $150,000 for future medical expenses was too high because Thornton’s doctor testified that future medical costs for a “potential future knee replacement surgery” would not be more than $75,000.
In other words, the jury awarded more money for future medical costs than the doctor said Thornton would incur.
The appeals court ordered the trial court to reduce the $150K in future medical expenses. I assume that the trial court will reduce this amount to $75K.
Even if the trial court reduces the future expenses to $75K, this still gives the shopper a $895K verdict. This was a big win for the shopper. As you’ll see from some of the other cases below, shoppers don’t always win their cases against Walmart.
The case is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Thornton, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2018.
Case Sent Back to State Court (No Evidence Worth Over $75K)
This isn’t my case. Willie Ann Jackson sued Wa l-mart Stores East, LP for negligence in state court. Walmart attempted to remove the case to federal court (Tampa Division).
Tip: Companies like Walmart may try to remove a case to federal court. They may do this because some say that federal judges are more likely to dismiss slip and fall cases.
Federal judges are more likely to enforce strict deadlines. They may dismiss a case if you fail to meet a deadline.
Cases in Federal court generally move faster. There is less time for discovery.
On May 29, 2015, the federal judge issued an opinion. The appeals court said that although the plaintiff (injured man) admitted that his damages exceed $75,000, nothing about this slip-and-fall lawsuit evidences damages that demonstrably exceed $75,000.
General knowledge and experience establish that many slip-and-fall lawsuits feature less than $75,000 in damages. In fact, most slip and fall lawsuits are worth much less than $75,000.
The judge sent the case back to state court. The case is Jackson v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2015.
The United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division issued its ruling on May 29, 2015.
Court Won’t Dismiss Case Where Lady Slips and Falls on Water at Walmart (Kissimmee)
Sonia Garcia (“Garcia”) sued Wal-Mart. She entered a store owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P. (“Wal-Mart”), in Kissimmee, Florida.
She slipped on clear water and fell. Walmart didn’t inspect area for at least 1 hour before her fall. Walmart said that they inspect the floor every 5 minutes.
Wal-Mart’s own employees said that Wal-Mart’s policy is to have sweepers constantly patrolling high traffic areas—such as the area in which Garcia fell— and that inspections occur every five minutes.
The court let the case continue towards trial. Read more about this case. This case is Garcia v. Wal-Mart Stores, East, LP, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2015
Court Won’t Dismiss Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against Walmart for Negligent Mode of Operation
Shirley Wichael sued Wal-Mart Stores East, LP. The United States District Court, M.D. in Florida, Orlando Division issued its opinion on October 2014.
Wichael claimed that she slipped and fell on Defendant’s property. On November 1, 2012, she visited a Wal-Mart location owned by Wal-mart.
While walking down an aisle inside Walmart’s store, she slipped and fell on a liquid substance that was on the floor. As a result of her fall, she suffered injuries and damages.
She sued Walmart on November 26, 2013 state court in Volusia County, Florida. Walmart removed the case to Federal Court.
She claimed that Walmart’s negligent mode of operation caused her injuries. Negligent mode of operation establishes the breach of a duty of care where a business owner creates an unsafe condition through the manner in which he conducts his business.
The mode-of-operation rule looks to a business’s choice of a particular mode of operation and not events surrounding the plaintiff’s accident. To the extent Walmart disputes that negligent mode of operation remains a possible theory of liability in Florida, the court said that Walmart may argue it again, if appropriate, on summary judgment.
The case is Wichael v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2014. The United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division issued its ruling on October 30, 2014.
Shopper Sues Walmart Manager for Slip and Fall (Case Sent Back to State Court)
Lynn Garber sued Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Clive Provost Heron.
On November 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming negligence against Walmart and Clive Provost-Heron, Walmart’s store manager in Palm Beach County, Florida state court. It arose from a slip-and-fall incident.
Her lawsuit claimed that:
1. Walmart owned, operated, maintained or was in control of the Wal-Mart store located at 16205 South Military Trail, Delray Beach, Florida.
2. Provost-Heron was the manager of the store. Garber fell while on the store’s premises on November 26, 2012. Wal-Mart breached its duty to maintain control of its premises and was negligent in allowing debris to exist on the walkway of its store.
3. Provost-Heron, individually and as a manager of the store, negligently and carelessly allowed a dangerous condition to exist on its premises, which caused Plaintiff’s injuries.
4. Provost-Heron, individually and as a manager of the store, maintained control of the specific walk-way in question and breached his duty to maintain the premises.
5. Provost-Heron, individually and as a manager of the store, was negligent by not fixing the dangerous situation and/or by not providing adequate warnings.
Since she alleged that the manager individually engaged in tortious conduct, the judge sent the case back to state court. I do not know if this case settled.
The case is Garber v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Dist. Court, SD Florida 2014. The United States District Court, S.D. Florida issued an opinion and order on April 11, 2014.
Slip and Fall Victim Demands Over $75,000 (Case Returns to State Court)
Joan Bienvenue sued Wal-Mart Stores East, LP.
On June 24, 2012, Bienvenue “slipped and fell on a foreign substance” at a Wal-Mart store located in Pinellas County, Florida. Bienvenue filed a negligence action against Wal-Mart in state court on March 27, 2013, seeking “damages which exceed the sum of fifteen thousand ($15,000.00) dollars.”
Bienvenue sued in state court, but Wal-Mart removed the case to federal court. She admitted that she was seeking damages in excess of $75,000.
The Court said that Bienvenue’s admission that she is alleging damages in excess of $75,000.00 does not satisfy Wal-Mart’s burden to remove the case to federal court.
Bienvenue claimed that she suffered an injury in and about her body and extremities with resultant pain, medical expense, loss of earnings, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
The case was sent back to state court, which is what the lady wanted.
The case is Bienvenue v. Wal-Mart Stores, East, LP, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2013. The United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division issued its ruling on June 19, 2013.
$1.2 Million Verdict for Arm Injury After Slip and Fall in Walmart (Florida)
This is not my case. Tom Papakalodoukas was a 40 year old man who was shopping at Walmart in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He slipped and fell on a sign while inside Walmart.
Tom was a beverage distributor. He slipped on a Gatorade sign that had fallen to the floor.
The fall was caught on video. Specifically, Walmart blamed Gatorade for giving it inexpensive plastic screws.
He had a torn tendon in his bicep, which resulted in three surgeries. This left him with a “Popeye Deformity” which causes unusual bulges.
He had depression and anxiety. A jury awarded him $800,000 for pain and suffering. $350,000 was for past pain and suffering. $400,000 was for future pain and suffering.
During trial, a Gatorade employee said that if Wal-Mart employees had properly assembled the sign, it wouldn’t have fallen. Gatorade testified that if the screws came loose or had broken, Wal-Mart had the responsibility to deal with it.
The jury stated that Wal-Mart was 90% negligent and the shopper was 10% at fault. Online articles said that the jury awarded twice as much as his attorney asked for.
He also made a claim for lost past wages and future wages totaling $186,337.12, and $300,807 in past and future medical expenses. The accident happened in 2011.
My thoughts: I saw pictures online of the alleged scars to the shopper’s upper arm (bicep) and the scars are horrible. The amount of pain and suffering that was awarded is large, but the shopper did have three surgeries.
This verdict shows that stores, such as Walmart, may be responsible even if it they try to blame the company (Gatorade in this case) who gave them the sign. This verdict also shows that juries will sometimes award twice as much as you ask for.
Walmart Shopper Awarded $99K in Medical Bills, Pain and Suffering (Slip and Fall)
See why a West Palm Beach, Florida appeals court ordered a new trial after jury gave a Walmart shopper only part of her medical bills from a slip and fall.
Court Won’t Divide Walmart Slip and Fall Settlement Between Victim and “Lien holders”
On December 14, 2009, Braun was injured in a slip and fall accident. Braun filed a negligence lawsuit against Wal-Mart in Hillsborough County, Florida state court.
Wal-Mart removed the case to federal court. In connection with her claimed injury, Braun incurred damages exceeding $146,772.62. Wal-Mart agreed to pay $90,000 to settle Braun’s claim.
Braun asked the court to split of the settlement between the “lien holders that have either provided medical services or paid substantial medical bills and other related expenses and indemnity benefits totaling well in excess of the amount to be recovered by Braun.
Indemnity benefits are lost wages. The court said that it didn’t have authority to determine the rights of various “lien holders” who weren’t parties to the case.
The case is Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP., Dist. Court, MD Florida 2012. The United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, issued its ruling on September 13, 2012.
Court Allows Shopper Time to Discover Facts Before Dismissing Slip and Fall
Dawn Marie Sullivan sued Wal-Mart Stores, East, LP.
Sullivan claimed that Walmart failed to clean up a spill on its floor resulting in her injuries from a slip and fall. Walmart maintained that a surveillance video recorded the accident.
They said that it shows that the slippery condition was created by another customer approximately two minutes and five seconds before Sullivan’s fall.
Tip: Generally speaking, if another Walmart customer spills something on the floor two minutes before your fall, you have no case against Walmart. This is because Walmart has no way of knowing that the liquid was spilled.
However, if a Walmart employee saw the spill, then Walmart has actual notice and they may be liable.
You may have a personal injury case against the other customer, but it will be difficult to track the other customer down.
If you can identity the other customer, his or her homeowners insurance may pay for your damages.
In this case, Walmart moved for summary judgment, arguing that there were not any material issues of fact. Thus, Walmart argued that the judge should permanently dismiss the case.
The judge said that Walmart has not given Sullivan the alleged surveillance video, so the court could not dismiss the case. The judge said that Sullivan should be allowed time to conduct discovery (formal investigation gathering from Walmart).
In Sullivan v. Wal-Mart Stores, East, LP, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2012. The case was heard in the United States District Court, M.D., Tampa Division. The court issued an order on April 4, 2012.
Customer Must Sue Walmart Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, not Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
A husband and wife, sued Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., d/b/a Walmart Supercenter Store #818 for injuries resulting from a slip-and-fall incident that occurred at Walmart on July 3, 2006.
The incident occurred in the building situated at 10270 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida. It is known as Wal-Mart Supercenter Store #818.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is the parent company of Wal-Mart Stores East, LP. The court said that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is not liable for its subsidiary’s actions.
As such, the husband and wife need to sue Wal-Mart Stores East, LP. The case is Teresa Yates, and her spouse, Lee Yates v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. d/b/a Walmart Supercenter Store #818.
The United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division, issued its ruling on December 28, 2010.
$23K Settlement for Slip and Fall at Walmart (Bulging Disc)
This isn’t my case. Settlement for Pain and Suffering for a bulging disc from a slip and fall at Walmart Stores in Palm Beach County, Florida. A 39 year-old shopper claimed that she suffered a bulging disc in her lower back (L4-L5) when she slipped and fell on water in the frozen foods aisle.
She claimed that the bulging disc radiated pain to her thigh and that she had neck pain (a cervical strain).
The total verdict was for $251,213. Of that amount, $101,213 was for past medical bills, $127,000 for future medical bills and $23,000 was for pain and suffering.
The verdict was in 2008. The accident happened in 2006. The case is Carpineto v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
My thoughts: The fact that the jury awarded $101,213 in past medical bills for two years of treatment leads me to believe that the shopper had surgery to her lower back.
I am not certain that she had surgery. If she did have lower back surgery, $23,000 is below the typical settlement value for pain and suffering for a lower back surgery caused by an accident in Florida.
For example, the average jury award for pain and suffering for a neck or back fusion surgery in a Florida slip and fall case is between $250,000 and $4000,000. This is for a 1 level fusion surgery. Specifically, I’m referencing the pain and suffering part of the claim. Medical bills and lost wages are additional.
Walmart Slip and Fall Case Allowed to Go to Trial (Employee was Mopping Area and Had Signs Up)
Silvers v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 826 So. 2d 513 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) is an appeal of a lawsuit by Ruth Silvers against Wal-mart Stores, Inc. The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District issued its ruling on September 25, 2002.
This case is still good law. A Tamarac, Florida lawyer represented Silvers. North Palm Beach lawyers of Vernis & Bowling represented Wal-mart Stores, Inc.
Silvers, in this slip and fall case, and appeals a directed verdict in favor of Walmart. The appeals court conclude that she established a prima facie case of negligence and reverse.
According to plaintiff it was raining on the day she went into Wal-Mart and, on her way toward the carts, she slipped and fell. She said that there was water on the floor and that the shopping carts were dripping wet.
As part of her case she introduced an answer to an interrogatory (written question answered under oath) in which Wal-Mart stated that maintenance personnel were mopping the floor at the time of the incident and had placed cones in the area.
At the end of Silver’s case at trial, the trial court ruled that the answer to the interrogatory was not admissible as substantive evidence and directed a verdict in favor of the Walmart on the ground that there was no evidence as to how long the water had been on the floor or that it was known to the defendant.
The appeals court said that the trial court erred in refusing to consider the answer to the interrogatory as substantive evidence. Alexander v. Alterman Transp. Lines, Inc., 387 So.2d 422 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980); Fla. R.Civ. P. 1.340(b). The answer demonstrated that the store had knowledge of the dangerous condition, and accordingly the trial court erred in directing a verdict for Walmart.
The appeals court’s conclusion that plaintiff presented a prima facie case is not grounded on Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So.2d 315 (Fla.2001), because Owens was not retroactive as to cases tried before the decision. Learn more Florida Publix slip and fall cases.
This case may have some issues as the slip and fall statute has changed since this case was decided.
Silvers also raises the issue of whether the trial court erred in not admitting a statement of a bystander (witness) as an excited utterance. The appeals court did not think that ruling was in error.
The case was allowed to continue to trial.
Court Dismissed Lawsuit for Slip and Fall on Slippery Substance at Walmart
Actual Case (not mine): Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. King, 592 So.2d 705, 707 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991) is an older case. However, it is still cited as good law. Therefore, Florida slip and fall victims should be familiar with it.
Ms. King sued Wal-Mart for negligence in failing to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and in failing to warn her of the danger.
The jury found that there was negligence on the part of Wal-Mart which was the legal cause of damage to Ms. King and awarded her a total of $846,400 in damages. Unlike the typical grocery store fall, the slippery substance did not display any obvious signs of age, such as skid marks, smudges, dirt or the like.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. appealed a final judgment awarding Georgia King $846,000 in damages in a slip-and-fall case. On appeal, Wal-Mart argued that the trial court should have directed a verdict in its favor because Ms. King failed to cite evidence from which the jury could have reasonably determined that Wal-Mart was negligent.
The appeals court said that this case is virtually the same as Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Marcotte, 553 So.2d 213 (Fla. 5th DCA 1989).
On appeal, the court noted that a landowner basically has two legal duties to protect invitees from the harmful effects of dangerous conditions on the premises.
If a reasonable inspection would have revealed the dangerous condition in question, and if the dangerous condition existed prior to the injury a length of time in excess of the time between reasonably spaced inspections, then the jury may find that the possessor neglected his duty and is liable for any injury legally caused by that neglect.
However, the courts have held the fact there was no inspection for a given length of time in itself provides no proof that the defect was actually there for a sufficient period to place a landowner on reasonable notice of its existence. Smith v. Winn Dixie Stores, Inc., 528 So.2d 987 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988); McCanick v. W.J.A. Realty Limited Partnership, 516 So.2d 1129, 1130 n. 1 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987).
Learn more about the King case, where the court dismissed a customer’s claim for a slip and fall on a slippery substance at Florida Walmart.
Slip and Falls Caused by a Leaking Refrigerator
If you slipped and fell on water from a refrigerator, water fountain, soda or beverage machine, ice machine or freezer, then you still have to prove that Walmart knew or should have known that the refrigerator was leaking before you fell.
Unless a Walmart employee tells you that the machine (refrigerator, freezer, etc.) was leaking before you slipped and fell, then you generally will have no idea whether Walmart knew or should have known that the refrigerator or freezer was leaking before your fall.
So, if you slip and fall on water that was leaking from a refrigerator or other machine, then once you are able, you should take pictures of the refrigerator or machine that you believe caused your fall.
The machine may be rusty, which may prove that they machine was old and should have been replaced before your accident. If your injuries are serious, then you may need to file a lawsuit to get a reasonable settlement in your case.
If you sue Walmart, then you can ask them to show you all the maintenance records (of the leaking refrigerator, freezer or machine that caused your fall) for the 2 years before your fall.
The maintenance records of the refrigerator, freezer or machine may show that it was leaking a few weeks or months before your fall.
If this was the case, even if Walmart fixed it a month or so before your fall, then you can argue that Walmart should have put something in front of the freezer (that would absorb water) before your fall.
You may be able to get the records of the maintenance company who repaired the refrigerator before you fall. Maybe the maintenance company recommended that Walmart purchase a new refrigerator instead of fixing it.
You may also argue that if Walmart bought a new machine before your fall, then you would not have been injured.
There may be paper towels in front of the refrigerator containing milk or other products. A customer may slip on water in that area.
If so, the injured person may argue that the Walmart knew the refrigerator was leaking before you fell. The victim could argue that only a Walmart employee would have placed paper towels in front of the cooler.
If there is a warning (caution) sign that you should have seen before you fell, then this may hurt your personal injury case. A surveillance video may show how long the refrigerator, freezer or other cooler was leaking before your fall.
How long does it take to settle a slip and fall case with Walmart?
There are many different factors that affect how long a slip and fall case may take to settle. There is no guarantee that Walmart will offer to settle your claim.
Slip and falls against Walmart should take a similar time to settle as compared with slip and falls at store or other business establishment. Business establishments include supermarket, hotel, motels and resorts, shopping malls, etc.
Slip and falls on a substances at a Walmart
The easiest way to prove that Walmart had constructive notice that a transitory foreign substance was on the floor is with your (or witness) testimony (if true) that you did not see anyone in the area for 15 minutes or more before you fell.
You can also prove that Walmart had constructive knowledge of the substance by stating (if true) that it was rotting, or that there were tracks, smudges, streaks, or footprints where you fell. These all help you show that the substance was there for a long period of time before you fell.
Walmart’s video may be able to help you prove that no one was in the area for 15 minutes before you fell.
Let’s suppose that you slip and fall on a piece of fruit at Walmart. If after you fell, you noticed that the piece of fruit was rotting, this should be enough evidence to get your case to a jury.
Take Pictures and/or Video
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.
Judge Says Walmart’s Release Is Invalid
In all personal injury settlements against Walmart, they will require you to sign a release in exchange for their settlement offer.
This is standard in all personal injury claim against someone who caused your injury. This is true whether Walmart injures you – or whether John Smith injures you.
However, you should aggressively negotiate Walmart’s release language.
Walmart’s release has been drafted by their brilliant lawyers. It has language that greatly favors Walmart, not you.
One judge called Walmart’s settlement release was so unclear as to allow the injured shopper to value Walmart’s $50,000 settlement offer.
Basically, Walmart offered the injured shopper (Fonseca) $50,000 in exchange for her agreeing to release Walmart for any injury claims:
related to the Incident.
Specifically, Judge Roy Altman said:
There was no way for Fonseca, reading the Offer, to identify—much less value—his “yet-to-be-discovered” future claims, which may (in some mysterious undefined way) be “related to the Incident.”Fonseca v. WAL-MART STORES EAST, LP, Dist. Court, SD Florida 2020 September 2, 2020.
The judge said:
And, on a fair reading, the release would appear to sweep in both (1) claims that could be asserted outside of this slip-and-fall case and (2) future claims based on future Wal-Mart actions.
For example: Let’s say Fonseca had visited Wal-Mart (in this case) to purchase a Wal-Mart branded toaster.
If the toaster turned out to be defective (say, because it had an unfortunate tendency to combust spontaneously), Fonseca may well be precluded from suing Wal-Mart—or even participating in a class-action arising from that defective toaster— since that lawsuit could be said to be “related to the Incident.”
Likewise, if Fonseca returns to Wal-Mart fifteen years from now and—still hobbled from tripping over the hangers—slips on some stray applesauce, his (future) negligence claim may be barred as “related to the Incident.”
These, of course, are just two of a virtually endless series of hypothetical traps by which the Offer’s “related to” phrase may (unjustifiably) ensnare Fonseca’s future claims. As Magistrate Judge Hunt concluded, it was “simply not possible for [Fonseca] to adequately evaluate” Wal-Mart’s Offer.
Hire a personal injury lawyer if you are seriously injured and Walmart is at fault. At a minimum, get a free consultation from an attorney.
One of the many benefits to hiring a lawyer is that they can negotiate the personal injury settlement release so that it protects your rights. Or at least allow you to make an informed decision as to whether accept Walmart’s settlement offer.
If you were seriously injured by Walmart in Florida, and you think Walmart may be at fault, I give a free consultation.
Most Slip and Fall Cases with Walmart in Florida Settle Before Trial
Most cases against Walmart settle before trial. This is no different from slip and fall cases against another other store. However, prepare your case as if it is going to trial.
Unless you have handled a lot of slip and fall cases, dealing with a claims adjuster on your own (without an attorney) is like playing LeBron James in basketball. Lebron has the advantage.
Want to Learn more about Walmart accident claims in Florida?
Check out my other articles on Walmart accident claims in Florida:
- Walmart trip and fall injury claims in Florida
- Walmart accident 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
- Shopping Cart Collapse Claim for Shopper’s Arm Injury at Royal Palm Beach, Florida Walmart
Did someone’s carelessness cause you to slip or trip and fall and suffer an injury at a Florida Walmart? Were you injured in another type of accident or somewhere else?
See Our Settlements
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to slip or trip and falls, supermarket or store accidents, accidents at an apartment complex, condo building or home, restaurant accidents, hotel accidents, day care accidents, cruise ship accidents and much more.
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Our Miami law firm represents people injured anywhere in Florida in slip, trip and falls, store or supermarket accidents, cruise ship or boat accidents, accidents at an apartment complex, condo building or home, and many other types of accidents.
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.
Fell at Walmart went to the emergency room x-rays cracked patella
Justin Ziegler, Lawyer says
Did this happen in Florida?
If yes, did Walmart do anything wrong that caused you to fall?
Disclaimer: I am not your lawyer. My reply is not intended as legal advice or opinion. You should speak with a lawyer immediately.
There is a time limit to sue. If you miss the time limit, you forever lose your right to sue.
My reply only applies to accidents in Florida, which is where I’m licensed.
Jane Doe says
My husband slipped and fell at Walmart in NJ. We sued Walmart and admitted they were at fault.
The lawyer said Walmart does not pay for future medical expenses. This is in NJ, and I know we will have future medical expenses since my husband is worst every day, no matter how many times goes to physical therapy, has pain treatments and takes daily medicines for the pain.
My question is, does NJ state pays for future expenses in slip and fall claim? does Walmart in NJ pays for future medical expenses?
My lawyer said they don’t but I find that hard to believe.
Is there any place where I can read about NJ slip and fall compensation?
Thank you for all your help!!
Justin Ziegler, Lawyer says
Unfortunately, I don’t know about New Jersey slip and fall law. I also don’t know of any NJ slip and fall law resources.
You can get a 2nd opinion from a New Jersey slip and fall lawyer. I wish you and your husband good luck.