You slipped and fell in a Walmart store and are now injured and in pain. Walmart is a retail giant. Can you really sue the company and be successful?
It’s possible, yes. You can start by submitting a demand letter for compensation Claims Management, Inc. This is a company that Walmart created to handle all of its liability claims.
If that fails, you can file a lawsuit against Walmart. You usually bring the suit under a premises liability theory.
You can bring the suit to recover any losses you suffered from your injuries, including things like medical expenses and property damage.
1. Can you file an injury claim if injured in Walmart?
Yes. You can start by making a personal injury demand for compensation if you were injured in an accident while in Walmart or on its property.
But you should note that typically injured parties file an injury claim with a company’s insurance company. Walmart is a bit different.
The company does not purchase insurance from a third party. Rather, it created its own company to handle all of its liability claims. The company is Claims Management, Inc.1
A slight issue with this is that, with its own company handling claims, Walmart has a financial incentive to deny claims and avoid paying them.
This does not mean that you should not file a claim. It means you should be prepared to:
- fight for your compensation, and
- possibly consult with a personal injury attorney for help.
2. Can you file a lawsuit?
Yes. If you are not successful in negotiating a settlement, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against Walmart.
You typically file a suit under a premises liability theory. Premises liability is an area of the law that says a store owner must provide and maintain a reasonably safe environment for its visitors.2
When suing Walmart, you will generally have to assert that it:
- caused a dangerous condition to exist on its property,
- knew about a dangerous condition but did nothing to fix or remove it, and/or
- reasonably should have known of a dangerous condition but did nothing to remedy it.3
You will also have to show that you:
- were injured because of the dangerous condition, and
- suffered some type of verifiable harm.
If successful in bringing a suit, you can recover compensation for your injuries, including payment for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
3. What evidence will you need for a claim or lawsuit?
You will need to support any injury claim or lawsuit with evidence of your accident and injuries. The more concrete your evidence is, the more success you will have in your claim or suit.
Common evidence in supporting a Walmart injury case includes:
- pictures of the accident scene,
- pictures of your injuries,
- witness statements,
- surveillance video from the Walmart store that you were injured in,
- reports of prior accidents with facts similar to your incident,
- medical records, and
- a personal journal that documents your healing process.
4. When should you file a Walmart claim or lawsuit?
Most jurisdictions say that the statute of limitations for a premises liability case is two to three years.4
This means that you must file a claim or lawsuit within this time period, or you will lose your right to do so.
Note that the timing to file a case usually starts on the date of your accident. While you need to keep this timeframe in mind, do not file a case too early.
Before you file a case, make sure you have solid evidence to support it.
5. Should you avoid talking to Walmart?
Yes. You will want to avoid talking to anyone from Walmart while a claim or lawsuit is pending. This includes not talking to any Walmart employees about your injury.
If you file an injury claim, you will obviously need to speak with the representative handling your claim. Make sure to keep your conversations short and do not volunteer information.
Further, do not agree to provide a recorded statement. This is where a representative asks you questions and then records your answers.
The person asking you questions will usually try to confuse you and use your words against you.
Please note that you can always consult with an injury attorney to help file a claim and/or lawsuit. Your attorney can speak on your behalf so you do not have to worry about making any mistakes.
6. What are common injuries people suffer in Walmart?
Slip and fall incidents are probably one of the most common sources of injuries in a Walmart store or on its property.
Other sources of injuries include:
- falling objects (for example, items falling off shelves),
- broken equipment,
- poorly maintained equipment or property, and
- sharp items in a store.
If you suffer an injury, make sure to take pictures of what caused it. Your pictures will serve as crucial evidence in any claim or lawsuit.
- See Walmart’s Claims Services website for an address.
- See Long, J. C. (2014). California Premises Liability. United States: The Recorder.
- See same.
- See, for example, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1.