If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a Walmart in Las Vegas, Nevada, you may be able to sue to recover compensation. The steps for how to sue Walmart after a slip and fall follow the same as other premises liability claims. You need to establish that Walmart was negligent, leading to injuries that caused you to suffer financial or emotional harm.
Walmart is one of the largest store franchises in the United States. With 4,717 stores across the United States as of April 2023, Walmart serves over 37 million customers daily, and over 230 million customers weekly. With such a high volume of customers, injuries at Walmart stores happen fairly often. As with any property owner, Walmart owes a duty to all visitors to ensure that there are no dangerous conditions that could lead to a risk of injury.
If Walmart has failed in this duty by allowing its premises to be unsafe, and you become injured, you may be able to seek compensation under a particular type of personal injury claim known as a premises liability lawsuit. Enlisting the help of an attorney will make sure that you have all the evidence required to prove each element of your personal injury claim.
Common Walmart Injury Claims
With Walmart stores varying in size from 98,000 to 261,000 square feet, there is a lot of space for things to go wrong and injuries to happen. While slip and fall accidents are the most common cause of injuries, there are several other causes as well. Below are some of the most common causes of Walmart injury claims:
Slip and Fall
In 2020, Walmart had more than 783,557,000 combined square feet of floor space in all of its stores.
This large amount of total floor space provides a lot of opportunities for spilled liquids on Walmart’s floors, and loose, bulging, or cracked flooring inside its stores. It also creates a lot of opportunities for loose wires or cables, boxes, or other hazards to be left in walkways. Aside from the floor space inside the stores, there can be potholes, cracks, or uneven sidewalks in the parking areas. These are all common causes of slip and fall accidents.
Aside from hazards on the floor, hazards from objects on shelves may also be present. When a store such as Walmart has lots of shelf space, there is a risk of an employee not packing objects on a shelf correctly. If objects are not secure on a shelf, they may fall off, hitting customers.
The dangers of this happening can be exacerbated if shelves are packed high to save space or special racks are set up for promotional events such as the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, or Labor Day. These racks are often not as secure as permanent shelving.
Stores are filled with equipment including ceiling tiles, refrigerators, lights, signs, and shopping carts. If the store does not maintain these correctly, there is a risk of causing injuries to customers due to poor maintenance. For example, a customer might cut himself or herself on a broken sign or shopping cart. A broken light can cause poor lighting, preventing a customer from seeing hazards or uneven flooring, and leading to a trip and fall.
Many Walmart stores are open 24 hours a day. Consequently, here may be times when there is a heightened risk of security issues because the store does not have as many shoppers or workers as others. At all times, Walmart has a duty to take adequate security measures and provide personnel, so customers can shop without the risk of getting assaulted. If the company did not provide adequate security, and you suffer injuries from an assault, you can hold the store liable.
Failing to Address Previous Injury-Causing Incidents
If there is any other specific incident that has occurred several times previously, the corporation should know that it can happen again and that a potentially dangerous condition exists. For example, if you have been injured by a motorized shopping cart, you may be wondering who is liable when motorized shopping carts cause injuries. If you can provide evidence that there have been previous motorized shopping cart incidents in the store, you can likely hold Walmart liable for failing to address a known dangerous condition.
Damages in Las Vegas, Nevada, Walmart Injury Claims
A slip and fall at Walmart can lead to soft tissue injuries, cuts and abrasions, broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries. If you have suffered a slip and fall accident, you can claim:
This includes all the medical expenses that you incur because of the injury. It covers doctor’s fees, hospital stays, medication, rehabilitation, or any other medical expenses that you have had to pay and that you will pay in the future because of the injury.
Lost Time from Work
If your injuries have caused you to lose time off work, and thus lose income, then you can claim for the income that you have lost.
Loss of Earnings Capacity
If your injuries cause you to not be able to carry out the same job in the future, your earning capacity may be diminished. In such a case, you will be able to add the lost earnings capacity to your claim.
Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Trauma
You can claim compensation for damages that do not have a dollar value, in addition to monetary losses. You can claim compensation for pain, suffering, or other emotional trauma that you have suffered from the accident.
Steps to Take if You Get Injured at a Store
If you are wondering what to do if you slip and fall at a store, the following steps can help preserve your claim.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Your well-being should be your priority. Even if you think your injuries are minor or do not see any apparent injuries, you should get checked out by a doctor. Your injuries may be more severe than you think, or there may be injuries that you are not aware of. Seeing a doctor will prevent them from becoming more severe later.
In addition to this, medical evidence, together with medical expenses, provides the backbone of your claim. Getting a full medical assessment will provide evidence of your injuries, their extent, and the seriousness of them. It will document the effect that they have on your day-to-day functioning, as well as the expected recovery. A medical assessment provides a link between the accident and your injuries.
The longer that you wait to see a doctor, the harder it will become to prove your claim. If you take too long to see a doctor, Walmart may try to claim that your injuries were due to some cause other than your slip and fall in the store.
Gathering evidence is essential, since the outcome of your case will likely hinge on the strength of your evidence.
One of the most important ways to collect evidence is to take photographs at the scene. If you are unable to take the photographs yourself, you can ask someone else to take them for you. You should take multiple photographs of the dangerous situation close up, as well as wide shots of the area, and from different angles. Video evidence should also be available, so you should demand a copy of the video recording from Walmart showing the incident, including the dangerous condition leading to it.
Witness evidence can be helpful, so be sure to record the names and contact information of witnesses.
You should keep copies of all medical receipts, bills, and any expenses related to the injury. If your injury causes you to lose work, you can keep a record of what lost wages you suffer as a result. Doing so may help substantiate the amount of damages that you are claiming.
Keeping a journal can illustrate the ways that your injuries have affected your day-to-day life. A journal may support your claim for any non-economic damages that you are suffering from after the accident.
Don’t Talk to Walmart
After an accident, you may be confused, in pain, or unaware of the extent of your injuries. Walmart may try to get you to sign a statement or provide a declaration when you are not able to think and understand the situation clearly. Doing so can harm your case.
After an accident, you are not under a legal obligation to make any statements to Walmart or its employees, or to sign any incident reports. You can demand a copy of the incident report, but should avoid signing it, as well as providing any statements regarding the incident.
You may receive a settlement offer from Walmart for your injuries. Do not accept the settlement amount without first consulting with a slip and fall lawyer to assess your claim and see whether the offer is fair. If you accept a settlement offer, you lose the right to take your claim any further, even if the settlement amount is significantly less than what your claim may be worth. You can usually negotiate and settle for an amount much larger than the initial settlement offer.
Don’t Delay Filing Your Claim
In Nevada, you have 2 years from the date of a slip and fall accident to sue Walmart for compensation. Once the 2 years have passed, you lose the right to bring a claim to court, and Walmart can ask the judge to dismiss the case if you try.
If you delay in seeking medical attention, collecting evidence, or bringing a claim, it will be easier for Walmart to dispute your claim. It can claim that your injuries are caused by something other than the accident, or that you are at fault for your injuries because they have worsened by not seeking and following medical advice promptly.
How to Establish Liability for Injuries After a Slip and Fall
Establishing liability for a slip and fall accident requires proving negligence. Proving negligence requires you to prove the four elements of negligence. These are:
Duty of care
In a normal personal injury claim, you need to prove that the person causing your injuries owes a duty of care. In premises liability, owners of premises have a duty to ensure that premises are safe for visitors to their premises, provided the visitor is not trespassing. Thus, Walmart owes its customers a duty of care to ensure its premises are safe and free from hazards. So if you are on Walmart’s premises, this element likely already exists.
Breach of Duty
There has been a breach of the duty of care if the at-fault party fails to take reasonable steps to prevent harm from occurring to a person to whom a duty of care is owed. You can prove that there was a breach of this duty by showing that Walmart failed to prevent the hazards or dangerous conditions that lead to your accident. If Walmart’s employees created a dangerous situation, didn’t inspect the store properly to discover a dangerous situation, and then failed to remove, fix, or warn visitors about the situation, they have breached the duty of care owed to you in the store.
The accident must have caused you to suffer injuries. If there have been no injuries, then you have not suffered any damages and have nothing to claim for.
Your injuries must be the result of Walmart’s negligence. If the hazard or dangerous condition in the Walmart store is what caused your injuries, then this element exists.
Proving negligence, as well as your injuries and claim, can be a difficult process in Las Vegas, Nevada. Your attorney will be able to determine if you have a valid claim, and guide you through how to sue Walmart. He or she will help to collect evidence and communicate with Walmart directly to negotiate the best possible settlement for you.