It doesn’t matter if you love it or hate it – Walmart offers shoppers a wide variety of products, including food. In order to provide shoppers with such a huge range, the stores are simply massive, with thousands of square feet in floor space. It doesn’t matter how large a store is, Walmart must provide a safe environment for anyone who shops there. Unfortunately for one man, a misplaced pallet in a Walmart caused him permanent harm.
Shopper Breaks Hip In Slip & Fall Accident
One Walmart shopper got more than he bargained for when he went to buy a watermelon. The Army veteran, who was 59-years-old at the time of his accident, was reaching for a melon when his foot became entangled in a wooden pallet. When he fell, his foot and leg remained in the same position but the rest of his body did not. The impact of the fall and the odd angle of his trapped leg resulted in a fractured hip.
Despite immediate medical intervention, the damage to his hip joint is permanent and he now has to use a walker. Prior to his injury, he was very active, playing basketball with friends multiple times a week. In addition to his lifestyle change, he has also had to undergo numerous medical procedures including surgery and requires ongoing care.
He sued Walmart, alleging that the pallet should have been properly placed out of the path of customers and that the store should have used pallet guards, a device that is often used in supermarkets. When the case went to trial, his legal team presented a multitude of videos showing Walmart shoppers falling because of protruding pallets, proving that this was a shockingly common occurrence and that the Walmart corporation knew, or should have known of the potential danger.
After careful deliberation, the jury awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million in compensatory damages and another $5 million in punitive damages.
Compensatory & Punitive Damages: What’s The Difference?
When a court awards compensatory damages, this compensation is intended to return the plaintiff to the state they were in prior to their losses. Depending on the case, this may mean that the plaintiff is awarded an appropriate amount to cover their:
- Lost Earnings
- Physical Pain
- Medical Bills
- Emotional Trauma
Punitive damages are awarded when the court feels that the plaintiff needs to be punished for their action or lack of action. Punitive damages are not available in every case and are in addition to the compensatory damages.
Common Causes Of Slip & Fall Accidents
It doesn’t matter what type of property a person is on when they slip and fall, under premises liability laws, property owners must regularly check their land and buildings for hazards like the following:
- Broken Sidewalks
- Loose Carpeting & Flooring
- Protruding Inanimate Objects
- Unsecured Wires
- Fall Leaves
- Ice & Snow
- Spilled Liquids
If a hazard isn’t discovered in a reasonable amount of time and corrected, then anyone who falls has the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
Steps To Take After A Slip & Fall Accident
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a slip and fall accident, the following steps should be taken:
- Seek Medical Attention: Don’t ever put off seeking immediate medical care. Many injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may not seem serious at first but can develop into a life-threatening condition.
- Collect Witness Information: If possible collect the names, phone numbers, and addresses of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Take Photographs Of The Scene
- Contact An Attorney: An attorney can not only help begin the legal process of obtaining compensation – they can also prevent evidence from going “missing” such as security videos.
- Document The Injuries: It’s always a good idea to begin taking photographs of the injuries that were sustained so that a timeline can be created.
- Keep All Documentation: Any documentation such as paperwork, emails, or even the dates and times of phone calls regarding the accident should be kept track of.
By taking just a few easy steps, the path to obtaining compensation may become much easier.
Banville Law: Our Lawyers Will Aggressively Fight For You
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall you are likely wondering what your legal options are. When you contact our law firm, one of our experienced attorneys will review your case and determine who was at fault. Then, we will present you with all of your options. Together, we will work to collect the evidence needed to prove your case and fight aggressively for the compensation you deserve.
Call us to learn more about the legal process and our past history of successful outcomes.