well i was doing some shopping as usual at this particular neighborhood walmart store in lithonia,ga and i had just ask one of the employees on the opposite end of the isle where the fries where located (he was stocking food items) and he said straight ahead down the isle to the right side, so i proceeded to go near where the fries where and i walked onto the rug area toward the location of the freezer where the fries were and before i knew it i landed on the floor hard, i am in pain fromthe fall,luckily a nice man came from behind me and helped me up from the floor and when i did get up my pants where wet,i never saw any water spill on the carpet/flr area and i just felt humiliated and finished my purchase and left the store,they have reviewed the camera tape to confirm it,what doc do i c
Whether you handle this on your own or retain an attorney is entirely up to you, however, generally an attorney will be able to achieve a greater return for you. The facts you describe indicate you have a definite premises liability claim against Wal-Mart, and I highly recommend you at least talk to an attorney about this matter. Until you decide, do not talk to Wal-Mart claims no matter what they say. Just tell them you are consulting with an attorney when they pressure you for a statement. As far retaining the video, a spoliation of evidence letter needs to be seen as soon as possible before they record over it.
Unfortunately, Wal-Mart is known for dastardly deeds, when it comes to people that have fallen in their stores. My suggestion is to not trust them and to get a lawyer, ASAP. There may be video of the incident, which needs to be preserved, as well as potential witnesses that need to be interviewed, etc... With Wal-Mart, these things seem to always disappear shortly after the incident, if they are not helpful tot he store. I have handled many fall cases against Wal-Mart. (770) 421-6888 www.braunree.com
First things first, you need to get medical care for your injuries. I'd suggest you not speak with the folks at Walmart anymore as any conversations you have are likely being recorded and very well may be used against you later. Slip and fall cases are very factually sensitive and the claims handlers know exactly what they need to get you to say in order to avoid liability. Second, you should speak with an injury attorney to assess whether or not you have a legitimate case. Under Georgia law, you will need to be able to show that Walmart knew (or at least should've known) that water had puddled on the floor but that they had failed to remedy the situation or otherwise warn you of the potentially hazardous condition. I'd highly encourage you to speak with an attorney quickly for two reasons: 1) to protect you from continued calls from the Walmart representatives, and 2) to send a letter to that Walmart requesting that any videos, photos, statements, or other potentially relevant information be preserved. Unfortunately, many times security cameras are recorded over by these stores if/when they realize it won't be good for them.
What are your expectations? What are your actual damages, such as physical injuries, medical bills, etc.? Being humiliated is not grounds for a lawsuit, and just a bruise and pain for a couple days, without an actual injury, is generally insufficient. In addition, you would have to show that the store had knowledge of the hazard and failed to clean it up. If you have no real claim for damages, the store might come up with a gift card or something of value.
You have already made one major mistake. Slip and fall cases are dificult, and Wal-Mart is particularly devious. Do NOT talk to them or their representatives. Everything you tell them will be used against you. If you proceed without a lawyer, your chances of any payment are zero. Even with a lawyer such cases are difficult. Get treatment, keep records, and see a lawyer ASAP so the lawyer can get and see the video before Wal-Mart destroys it.
The issue will be did Wal-Mart know of the hazard and could you have seen it, and also what injuries you received.
you need to speak to an attorney and do not give any statements (recorded or otherwise) to the claims department prior to speaking with a lawyer. make no mistake about it, the claim representatives will do what they can to find a basis not to pay on a claim and in georgia, slip and fall cases routinely get dismissed by the court on summary judgment. focus on your health and getting the medical treatment that you need. let the lawyer handle the liability aspects with walmart.
You will likely get a bogus letter from the store stating that "they have reviewed the camera footage, and that they have determined that they are not liable"...I have about two hundred of these ridiculous letters in my file cabinet...It is outrageous behavior, and I may even file a class action....but that aside, retain a local lawyer in your city to investigate.
You absolutely need an attorney for this. In my opinion one of the worst things that you could do would be to deal with Walmart's Claims Department yourself. More than likely they will try to get you to sign a release or disclosure with a lot of small print and possibly an arbitration clause stating that you are giving up your right to ever sue- should it come to that. Be extremely careful handling this on your own and be sure to speak with an attorney.
You have received 8 responses so far to your question and this one is nine. They are all the same. You need a lawyer and you need to stop talking to Walmart. These 8 now 9 lawyers are not telling you this because they want your case and make money out of something Walmart will take care of for you. WIth or without an attorney I suspect Walmart's response will be that they are not liable. Only a lawyer can assist you when that happens. As another lawyer pointed out--just because you fell and just because you fell on some liquid in the store DOES NOT make the store automatically liable. It will be necessary to show that the store was on some notice of the hazard. For example, were there footprints in the area arguably showing that the water had been there long enough for Walmart to have found it and cleaned it? Is there some problem with the freezer that leaks and Walmart should have known about it. Do customers taking things out of the freezer drip water and ice on the floor so that arguably this is a recurring problem that should have been addressed. Did some employee cause the hazard. If you have a serious enough injury and a lawyer is willing to investigate, those are some of the questions that need to explored. The seriousness of your injury is critical. If you are hurt you need medical attention. I suspect Walmart will take the position you are not hurt, and if you are hurt you are better and if you are still hurt its from something else. You need to get better anyway, see your family doctor or go to the Er and see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible.
Contact a personal injury attorney. The fact that your clothes were wet indicates that the condition may have existed for quite awhile. There may be other reported incidents or attempts by Wal Mart to correct the condition. If so, then you may be able to show that they knew or should have known about a dangerous condition. You say we're were in pain. Are you still in pain? If so, go to a physician and get examined. Make sure you tell the doctor how the accident happened. Good luck!
You need an attorney that specializes in premises liability and slip and fall cases right away. They are not easy to win, as I note here, http://daviddorer.com/?p=468, but more to the point, nuances in the way that you explain your story can hinder the ability to recover.
These types of statements are taken by wal-mart to bolster a basis not to compensate you for your loss. You should seek out legal counsel so your rights are protected.
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