Walmart Truck Hits Man; He Doesn’t Have to Disclose All His Military Records
Muller sued in December 2012 after he was struck by a truck belonging to Wal-Mart and driven by Contreras at a Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
In his lawsuit, Muller sought damages for permanent bodily injury, pain and suffering, aggravation of pre-existing conditions or physical defects, disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, medical expenses, and loss of earnings and earning capacity.
He told Walmart that he had sustained three injuries while in the military but said that he was not seeking damages for the aggravation of any of his military injuries.
The appeals court ruled Muller did not have to disclose military records to Walmart without the trial court first examination them to separate the relevant documents from the private, irrelevant documents.
Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal (DCA) issued a ruling on May 22, 2015. There are fourteen counties in the Second District, which include: Pasco & Pinellas, Hardee, Highlands, Polk, DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota, Hendry, Hillsborough, Charlotte, Glades, Collier and Lee.
I assume that the accident happened in one of these counties. In Florida, most lawsuits take place in the county where the accident happened.
Pain and Suffering Damages Against Walmart from a Florida Truck Crash
A threshold injury usually consists of a permanent injury, significant and permanent scarring, or death. You do not have to prove that your injuries are permanent in order to recover money for your medical bills and lost wages.
If you a Walmart truck hit you while you were on a motorcycle in Florida, you do not have to prove that you have a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering.
If a Walmart truck hit you, you should immediately send Walmart a letter asking it to preserve the event data recorder (black box) and all the driving logs along with other information.
This information can help you prove that the Walmart truck driver was driving too many hours and may have been sleep deprived. Trucking regulations are very strict in the United States.
Walmart has access to rapid crash response teams
You should assume that Walmart might send a crash response team at the accident scene to gather evidence as soon as possible following the accident.
Get an expert out to the crash scene
If it was a serious truck accident, you should have an accident reconstruction expert out to the scene immediately following the accident.
Be sure to take pictures of any vehicles involved in the crash. Get the names and contact information of all witnesses to the accident. Even if you received a ticket for causing the crash, this does not mean that you do not have a case against Walmart.
You could still be entitled to a settlement for the car accident.
If a Walmart truck driver’s negligence caused your injury in Florida or if you live in Florida, you want to make a personal injury claim against Walmart.
Always also make an uninsured motorist insurance claim
Warning: Do not assume that you cannot make a claim against uninsured motorist (UM) coverage! Do not assume that uninsured motorist liability coverage is not available to you.
I have settled countless non-Walmart injury cases for clients who had no idea that they were entitled to uninsured motorist coverage.
Here is a story about a $325,000 settlement for a man who didn’t realize that he purchased uninsured motorist insurance when he rented a car.
Time limit to sue Walmart from a Florida Truck Accident
If a Walmart truck driver’s negligence caused your accident in Florida, then you have 4 years to sue Walmart.
If an uninsured motorist hits a Walmart employee in Florida, then in most (but not all) cases the employee has 5 years to sue an auto insurer under the uninsured motorist (UM) coverage of the policy to which the employee is an insured.
There is a time limit within which you must report your work-related accident to your employer.
Walmart can’t get your mental health records if you only make a physical pain and suffering claim
Where physical pain and suffering without mental anguish decreases the enjoyment of life, the mere fact a claimant’s lawsuit references loss of enjoyment of life is not a basis upon which to place that claimant’s mental or emotional state at issue. Garbacik v. Wal-Mart Transp., LLC, 932 So2d 500 ((Fla. 5th DCA 2006).
This means that if you physical pain and suffering without mental anguish causes you to enjoy life less, Walmart cannot get access to your mental health information.
Most Walmart truck accident cases don’t make national news
My best guess would be that ninety-nine percent of accidents involving Walmart do not make national news.
But every so often, you will hear about a Walmart accident on the TV or online.
Walmart Truck Hit Comedian Tracy Morgan
The biggest recent Walmart accident to make the news is an accident where a Walmart truck hit a limo van. The NTSB Preliminary Report has a three-dimensional scan of the Walmart 18 wheeler truck involved in the crash with Tracey Morgan.
It can be seen in the photo below.
A three-dimensional scan of the limo van involved in the crash is below.
Tracy Morgan was badly injured. Tracy Morgan is a famous comedian in the US. The accident also killed Tracy’s friend.
Tracy Morgan settled his lawsuit with Walmart on May 27, 2015. According to BBC, Morgan’s lawyer said Walmart “took full responsibility for the accident.” I give Walmart credit for this.
Warning! Walmart had a big interest in settling this case because it made national news. Most cases do not make national news. Do not expect Walmart to take full responsibility for the accident.
The agreement is confidential. Morgan said Walmart “did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families”.
“I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably.” A representative for supermarket giant Walmart also called it an “amicable settlement”.
The accident was all over the news. At one point, Tracy Morgan was quoted as saying “I can’t believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused.
My friends and I were doing nothing wrong.”
What if this accident would have happened in Florida?
In any Florida truck accident case, the injured person should expect the the truck driver’s employer will blame the injured person. Even if in a rear end crash.
If a jury finds that the claimant is at fault, the verdict is reduced by the injured person’s percentage of fault.
The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey. In its response to the comedian’s lawsuit, Walmart responded by saying that the comedian’s injuries were “caused, in whole or in part, by claimants’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device.”
In Florida, failure to wear a seatbelt can reduce the value of the case. I am not surprised at Walmart’s for asserting this defense.
In its response, Walmart also said: “By failing to exercise ordinary care in making use of available seatbelts, upon information and belief, the claimant acted unreasonably and in disregard of claimants’ own best interests.
Accordingly, all or a portion of the injuries could have been diminished or minimized by the exercise or reasonable conduct in using their available seatbelts.”
The accident happened in June 2014. A truck driven by a Walmart employe hit the rear of Morgan’s vehicle. Morgan suffered a broken nose, broken ribs and broken leg.
Morgan sued Walmart. He claimed that Walmart let its employee drive after he was awake for more than 24 consecutive hours.
Morgan says this resulted in Walmart’s employee falling asleep while driving and hitting his Morgan’s vehicle.
If an injured person can show that a Walmart truck driver’s fatigue caused an accident, this greatly helps the case. In truck accident cases, the goal is to put the blame on the trucking employer rather than the driver.
The case theme is usually that the truck driver’s employer cared more about profit over safety.
The injured person usually has a higher chance of winning a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver’s employer than against the truck driver.
He or she also generally has a better chance of being awarded more money if he or she can show that the employer was negligent.
Morgan was released from rehabilitation the following month after the crash. His attorney said that he was still struggling with his injuries.
The National Transportation and Safety Board Preliminary report stated that Walmart’s driver was going 20 mph above the speed limit. They say he was going 65 mph in a 45 mph construction zone.
Sometimes an injured person can show that a truck driver was speeding in a construction zone. This generally increases the value of the case.
According to NY Daily News, A Twitter account that was linked to the Walmart driver, Kevin Roper, posted several tweets. Per NY Daily, they were allegedly posted a few days after the crash.
Most of those tweets seem harmless. But, he allegedly said “If my ACCIDENT occurs with no media spotlight I am issued a few traffic tickets…”
This tweet may have been harmful as it implies that he was at fault. People generally get tickets when the police officer believes that they were at fault.
If you are injured in an accident, do not post anything on any social media accounts. The responsible driver’s social media accounts may be public.
It may provide information that can later help the injured victim’s case.
Personal Injury Case Went Forward
On February 4, 2015, CBS News reported that a federal judge denied driver Kevin Roper’s motion to delay Morgan’s lawsuit against Walmart.
According to CBS, Roper faces multiple criminal charges in state court, including death by auto, but he hasn’t been indicted yet. He was not a defendant in Morgan’s federal lawsuit but wanted to intervene in that suit.
He wanted to delay it from moving forward until his criminal case could be resolved. CBS reports that Roper said his right to a fair trial would be hampered and that he would, in essence, be on trial in the civil case despite him not being a defendant.
He said prosecutors in the criminal case would benefit from information that was revealed. A judge ruled against Roper and allowed the lawsuit to go forward.
My thoughts: In Florida, attorneys sometimes wait to file a civil lawsuit until the criminal case is finished. This is the opposite of what Morgan’s attorney is doing.
Florida lawyers may wait so that they Florida prosecutors gather information. This information may help the civil case be easier to prove.
A driver in a Florida car crash is charged with DUI. He or she may plead guilty.
If so, the victim can use the DUI driver’s guilty plea in the personal injury case. This is one reason why the DUI crash victim should attend the criminal trial in Florida.
It can greatly increase the full value of the victim’s injury case.
Video of Crash Scene
TMZ has a video of the Tracy Morgan crash scene. They say it was shot moments after the crash.
You can hear and see people panicking. It is very sad. My heart goes out to all the injured victims and their families.
Did a Walmart truck driver’s carelessness cause your injury in Florida? Were you hurt in another type of accident?
I want to represent you!
I am a Miami truck and car accident lawyer that represents people injured anywhere in Florida in car accidents, truck accidents, slip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian accidents, taxi accidents, accidents involving an Uber or Lyft driver, and many other types of accidents.
I want to represent you if you were hurt in an accident in Florida. If you were injured in another state but live in Florida, we may also be able to represent you.
Call Us Now!
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.