It is important to know that any business which welcomes the public onto their premises is legally charged with keeping those people reasonably safe. Whether you are at a “big box” store like Walmart, Sam’s Club or Costco, a supermarket chain such as Albertson’s or Safeway, or any business that invites the public in to purchase goods, there is an inherent obligation to keep customers out of harm’s way. If you are injured in a slip and fall on the store’s premise, you may have a valid legal claim against the business.
There are a number of factors involved in most store slip and fall accidents. Accumulations of snow or ice in the entry way, a floor mat which is bunched up, display items which are haphazardly placed, poor lighting or a spilled substance which has been there for a significant length of time but ignored can all cause slip and fall accidents. Consider some of the more notable lawsuits regarding slip and falls in stores.
Home Depot Slip and Fall Injury Case Examples
Home Depot Fall Injury Case Verdict: $950,000
A woman’s knee was injured after her cart hit a manhole cover which was hidden by water, tipping over the cart. Although Home Depot claimed the dangers were obvious, the jury found Home Depot to be 95% at fault, and ordered them to pay $950,000 for the woman’s knee injuries.
Home Depot Fall Injury Case Verdict: $159,125
A man was walking near the entrance of a Home Depot when he fell after slipping on a patch of ice. The fall resulted in the man suffering a torn quadriceps that required surgery to repair. The defense claimed that the area was inspected two hours before the man’s fall, and that even if the ice did form, the store did not have sufficient notice of the condition to correct it. The jury found Home Depot negligent and awarded the man a verdict of $159,125 for his injuries.
Home Depot Fall Injury Case Verdict: $44,383.61
In 2011, a Pennsylvania woman sued after slipping on an unknown slippery substance while in Home Depot. The fall resulted in an Emergency Room visit where she was examined and released for pain in her lower back. After the incident, the woman’s attorney demanded the surveillance tape from the day of her fall, only to find the relevant part of the tape showing her fall had been mysteriously deleted. Despite this lack of evidence—or maybe because of it—Home Depot was ordered to pay $44,383.61 for her injuries.
Walmart Slip and Fall Injury Case Examples
Walmart Injury Case Verdict: $600,000
At a New York Walmart, a 34-year-old medical secretary slipped on ice and fell while walking around the store’s premise. After she fell, she was also hit by a falling sheet of ice which had slid off the metal roof above her. She sustained a severe injury to her left arm that required surgery and prevented her from using her hand. Walmart claimed that an employee told the woman to stay inside, but she failed to heed the warning. Walmart also claimed that, that contrary to her claim, the roof was properly designed. The jury awarded the 34-year-old medical secretary $600,000 for her slip and fall injury.
Walmart Injury Case Verdict: $212,030
A Connecticut woman claimed her spine was injured when an automatic entrance door at Walmart struck her in the back, knocking her to the floor. The jury returned a verdict of $302,900 for her injury, but reduced the total by 30 percent for comparative negligence to $212,030.
Walmart Injury Case Verdict: $31,500
In Tennessee, a woman was walking into a Walmart store when the store’s automatic door suddenly closed and struck her in the face. The woman suffered a broken nose that required rhinoplasty to repair. Walmart argued that the woman caused the accident by not paying attention, while the woman’s attorney argued that Walmart did not properly maintain and adjust the doors properly. The jury awarded the woman $35,000, but reduced the amount close to 10% due to her fault in the accident.
Sam’s Club Slip and Fall Injury Case Examples
Sam’s Club Injury Case Verdict: $3,960,000
In a Michigan case, a 54-year old heart surgeon tripped over the tongue of a trailer hitch in a Sam’s Club parking lot while carrying a large bulk package of paper towels. The surgeon suffered a spinal injury, which caused his hands to shake continually. The fall injury ended his career. The surgeon alleged the trailer hitch should have been cordoned off or marked with a cone. He received $3.96 million for loss of future income.
Sam’s Club Injury Case Verdict: $180,000
A 77-year-old woman fell after tripping on a ridge in a Sam’s Club entry ramp that was 5/8 of an inch higher than the parking lot. She suffered a broken hip injury from the fall. Evidence indicated that Sam’s Club employees knew that the surface from the parking lot to the ramp was not level. While a Texas Supreme Court reversed the $400,000 punitive damage award, it upheld a $180,000 compensatory award for the woman.
Costco Slip and Fall Injury Case Example
Costco Injury Case Verdict: $400,000
A woman slipped on puddle of liquid soap in a Costco store, which shattered her kneecap. Due to the fall injury, she suffered partial loss of mobility and permanent pain in her knee. There was evidence that several employees had walked by the spill without cleaning it up, and a California jury awarded the woman $400,000 for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Liability for a Slip and Fall in a Store
There are literally hundreds of thousands of slip and fall cases like the examples above. Not all cases are settled in favor of the plaintiff, however, and often times the large retail store simply has more financial resources and eventually wins by holding out the longest. Generally speaking, the owner of the store may be liable if the condition was known, (even if the condition was not created by the store) but no steps were taken to remedy it.
As an example, if one customer spills a drink in a grocery store aisle and a customer immediately slips and falls, the store may not be held liable because there was not sufficient time to take note of the spill and clean it up. If the spill has been there for a while and multiple employees have passed by but ignored the spill, then the store may be liable. The plaintiff must also show the condition was not so obvious that he or she should have taken steps to avoid the unsafe condition. If you are the victim of a slip and fall inside a store, contact an attorney immediately, and document every detail while it is fresh in your mind.
Texas is among the hardest of states to win these slip and fall cases because of strict laws in favor of big businesses. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a slip and fall or other injury while in a store, contact our office 817 831 6100 and we can help answer any questions you may have.