Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere and can cause devastating, permanent disabilities. If you fell in a Walmart in Indiana, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your health and legal rights. Knowing what to do if you slip and fall in any store or commercial setting will help preserve evidence, build your case, and receive compensation for your injuries.
How Does a Slip-and-Fall Accident Happen?
The unexpected nature of a slip-and-fall accident often leads to severe and traumatic injuries because on-the-spot agility is not commonplace for most people. Sometimes, catching your fall may result in just as serious consequences as not catching your fall. This leaves most of the population vulnerable to injury when a slip-and-fall accident happens.
Walmart, like any other store, may create hazardous conditions simply by being open for business. Customers can slip and fall for a variety of reasons, such as the following:
- Spilled liquids or oil on the floor,
- Trash or other debris that fell off shelves or from overflowing trash cans,
- Freshly mopped or waxed floors,
- Loose tiles or worn carpeting, or
- Ice or other condensation in a parking lot.
Regardless of how your slip-and-fall accident happened, you might have a claim for compensation if Walmart did not use sufficient care to keep their property safe.
What Should I Do If I Slip and Fall in Walmart?
There are a number of steps after you slip and fall in Walmart that can be taken to help your case.
See a Doctor
First, seek medical attention. Your health and well-being should be your top priority after a slip-and-fall accident. Even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt, it’s still a good idea to get checked out by a healthcare professional. Some injuries might not show symptoms immediately, and establishing a connection between these injuries and the fall can be difficult if you don’t see a doctor right away.
Report the Incident
Next, report the incident to Walmart as soon as possible. Ask to speak with a manager and provide them with details, and be sure to get a copy of the incident report before leaving the store.
Speak to Witnesses
When possible, talk to any potential witnesses. Ask any witnesses to provide written statements that detail the accident, why you fell, how it happened, and how it could have been prevented. Witness statements can significantly help your personal injury claim and show that the store was liable for your damages. Witnesses must include their names and contact details with their statements.
Also, take photos of the accident scene. For example, if you fell on oil spilled in the grocery department, a photo of the floor where you fell could be very beneficial for supporting your personal injury claim. Do not just take one close-up picture of the substance on which you fell; take several pictures from different angles, if possible.
In addition to photos of the accident scene, take photographs of your injuries and begin writing in a journal. Make notes of what doctors say and how the injuries limit your normal activities. Also, be sure to note your pain levels from day to day, as well as your state of mind. This information will help your attorney prepare a settlement offer for the store.
Locate Video Footage
It may also be beneficial to look for video cameras. Like most large chain retailers, Walmart stores have numerous video cameras located throughout the store. Your entire slip-and-fall accident is likely to have been caught on video. However, do not assume that the video cameras near where you fell were working at the time of your accident. You must look into this, and you should do it promptly because Walmart and other stores routinely erase video footage unless you request a copy and ask them to preserve it.
Another helpful hint is to preserve the shoes and clothing that you were wearing at the time of the accident. Do not wear them again until the case is settled. Walmart could try to say that you were partially at fault because your shoes had no traction on them. Also, if you destroy them, your case might be thrown out.
Hire a Lawyer
Lastly, enlist the help of a lawyer. With the help of a personal injury attorney, your odds of a successful claim against Walmart, or any other discount department store, are likely to increase significantly. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs. You don’t pay the lawyer until you get money from your claim.
What Will I Need to Prove?
The law gives victims of accidents caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another the right to seek monetary compensation for their injuries from the responsible party. To be eligible for compensation, you’ll have to prove that Walmart’s negligence caused your injuries. Property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition, and if Walmart fails to maintain its premises safely, it can be held liable. This is called “premises liability.”
Premises liability is an important concept to understand in the context of a slip-and-fall accident. In the case of Walmart, the store has a legal obligation to ensure that its premises are reasonably safe for customers. This means that Walmart must take reasonable steps to identify and correct any hazardous conditions that could potentially cause harm to its customers. If Walmart fails to do so, and someone is injured, that customer may be able to file a premises liability claim against the store.
The legal doctrine of respondeat superior is Latin for “let the master answer”—and it means that employers must answer and be liable for employees’ negligent, reckless, and sometimes intentional misconduct. In a slip-and-fall accident, this means that the victim does not need to pursue compensation for damages from the individual employee responsible for creating or allowing the hazard. Instead, they only need to bring a claim against the company to recover compensation.
Need Help Understanding What to Do If You Slip and Fall in Walmart?
If you or a loved one were injured due to a fall at Walmart, speak to our team of slip-and-fall lawyers. At Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, we have represented thousands of people and recovered more than $500 million for our clients. With over five decades of experience, Gerling Law has firmly established itself as willing to take on large retailer chains like Walmart. Our team is skilled, passionate, and determined to help you regain your life after a serious fall.