Walmart: Personal Injury Claims
As personal injury attorneys who handle injury claims against Walmart Inc. in Arizona, the legal team at Lamber Goodnow understand how difficult it can be to sue Walmart. Most people are likely familiar with this retail giant and may frequently shop at its stores. Walmart is the largest retailer in the world and boasted $524 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended on Jan. 31, 2020. The company states that it has more than 2.2 million employees in its retail locations around the world.
Thousands of lawsuits are filed against Walmart each year. While many of these claims are filed by current or former employees as employment law matters, many others involve personal injury allegations. Lamber Goodnow represents clients who file personal injury claims against Walmart.
As a huge corporate giant, suing Walmart for personal injuries presents plaintiffs with some unique challenges. Like other companies, Walmart wants to minimize its losses in personal injury claims. However, the tactics it uses are far more aggressive than what you might expect when filing a lawsuit against a different company. Because of the difficulties of prevailing in a personal injury case against Walmart, you will likely need to seek help from a team of experienced personal injury attorneys to recover fair compensation for your losses. Lamber Goodnow is experienced in handling claims against Walmart and can help you to navigate through the process.
Common types of injuries at Walmart
Personal injury cases against Walmart may involve many different scenarios. However, many involve issues of premises liability. Under Arizona law, landowners, including corporations like Walmart, owe different duties to people on their premises that depend on their purposes for visiting.
There are three categories of entrants to property that are recognized under Arizona law. Trespassers are owed the least duty of care. In general, Walmart will not owe any duty to you if you break into one of its stores and are injured while there unless it intentionally set a trap to try to hurt you. Licensees are people who visit a property for non-business purposes such as social guests. Property owners have a duty to warn licensees about non-obvious dangers on their property.
Most premises liability cases against Walmart are filed by people who fit into the third category of visitors called invitees. These are people who are allowed on the property for the business’s purposes, including customers. For licensees, businesses have a duty to discover hazardous conditions, warn people about them, and to correct them. However, this duty applies when the types of accidents and injuries are reasonably foreseeable. Attorneys may want to see inspection logs and security video to determine how long a hazardous condition existed to see if the store’s employees should have reasonably discovered it, for example.
Some of the common types of personal injury cases that happen at Walmart include the following:
- Slips and falls on slick floors or spills
- Trips over objects left on the floor
- Strikes from objects falling from shelves
- Lacerations from defective shelves
- Falls in poorly maintained parking lots
- Trips over loose or torn entrance carpets
- Assaults and robberies because of inadequate security
- Injuries caused by poor lighting
Some injuries happen elsewhere other than a store location. For example, Walmart drivers who have caused accidents have resulted in successful lawsuits against the retail giant. One famous case against Walmart involved the fatal accident that injured Tracy Morgan and killed comedian James McNair that was caused by a negligent Walmart truck driver. That case was settled in 2015. When Walmart breaches the duty of care that it owes, it may be found liable to pay damages for your losses.
Why successfully suing Walmart is so difficult
While most companies have insurance in place for claims that might be filed against them, Walmart is large enough to be self-insured. It has established a liability company called Walmart Claims Services. It handles all lawsuits and claims that are filed against Walmart. Other companies have insurance companies that handle and pay claims. When Walmart is successfully sued, it pays claims with its own funds. Walmart has a robust team of attorneys and claims handlers that evaluate injury claims to try to reduce what the corporation might be forced to pay. The company is notorious for its aggressive approach to personal injury claims and frequently refuses to settle.
As a self-insured corporation, Walmart budgets money every year for claims. When a claimant prevails, he or she is paid out of the fund that has been set aside. By paying less than the budgeted amount for the year, Walmart is able to improve its bottom line, giving the company an incentive to litigate all of the claims that are filed against it. Frequently, Walmart engages in practices that are designed to make the litigation process difficult and expensive for plaintiffs, including the following:
- Failing to turn over evidence and documents
- Objecting to requests for discovery
- Removing cases from state to federal court
- Filing motions for summary judgment
- Hiring experts to opine that the plaintiffs caused their own injuries
Instead of quietly settling injury claims to avoid reputational harm, Walmart tends to aggressively fight every case. They do this to try to discourage other people from filing claims against the company. However, even though the company is strong, aggressive, and large, the experienced Walmart personal injury lawyers at Lamber Goodnow often win cases when the negligence of Walmart or its employees cause their clients’ injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get help from Lamber Goodnow
If you want to sue Walmart for your injuries, you will likely need experienced legal help. Working with the team of knowledgeable attorneys at Lamber Goodnow can place you on more even footing with this corporate giant. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options and to request a free consultation.
Sources Walmart Inc., “Company Facts,” https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/company-facts#:~:text=For%20the%20fiscal%20year%20ended,total%20revenue%20was%20%24524%20billion.  Bellezzo v. State, 174 Ariz. 548 (Ct. App. 1992).  Robertson v. Sixpence Inns of America Inc., 163 Ariz. 539 (1990).  Washington Post, “Comedian Tracy Morgan settles crash lawsuit against Walmart,” May 27, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/comedian-tracy-morgan-settles-crash-lawsuit-with-wal-mart/2015/05/27/bcd881c8-04ad-11e5-8bda-c7b4e9a8f7ac_story.html.  Better Business Bureau, “Walmart Claims Services Inc.” https://www.bbb.org/us/ar/rogers/profile/insurance-services-office/walmart-claims-services-inc-0935-7000017  A.R.S. § 12-542.