BIG SLIP AND FALL SETTLEMENTS IN BIG BOX STORES
Until it happens to someone we love, we don’t think about slipping in a store as a cause of serious body injury, but it certainly can be. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that each year, more than 800,000 patients are hospitalized because of a fall injury. When a slip and fall injury occurs inside a store, it usually happens because of the condition of the floor, which:
- may just have been washed or polished
- may be uneven in some areas
- may have a stair in disrepair
- .has spilled liquid or grease
- has small objects that have dropped
These are common occurrences, but they shouldn’t be, because property owners have a duty to prevent dangerous conditions in and around their premises. As personal injury attorneys, we’ve seen instances where slip and fall injuries are serious enough to affect a person’s health and wellbeing for years to come, or even render them disabled for life.
Many big slip and fall lawsuits relate to “big box stores”. Although many transactions are done via online shopping, there are still many, many people shopping in these stores. In fact, one Baltimore law firm did an entire study of claims just against Walmart. While the Walmart Company gets sued nearly 20 times a day, some of the cases have to do with wage and hour and employment discrimination. Still, there were many slip and fall premises liability cases.
The authors pointed out an interesting aspect about lawsuits against big corporations: Often the companies do not want their reputations besmirched, so they would rather settle lawsuits than go to court.
As personal injury attorneys with extensive experiences handling slip and fall accident injuries, we know that to determine that, in order to hold the owner of a premises liable, one of three things needs to be proven:
- The property owner or employee caused the spill, worn or torn spot or other hazard.
- The property owner or an employee knew about the danger but did nothing about it.
- The owner or employee should have known about the dangerous surface – any reasonable person would have realized the danger.
Do individual consumers have a chance against giant corporations? Absolutely, Miller & Zois say. “The deciding factor in most lawsuits against Walmart or any other defendant in the country is the facts. The side that should win usually does win.”