With roughly 6,300 stores in the United States, Wal-Mart is a popular shopping center. Patrons purchase groceries and thousands of household items from these stores every day. Wal-Mart earns an incredible $466 in profits every second. Approximately 100,000,000 customers visit the store every week.
Wal-Mart stores are a series of aisles with different types of goods in its various sections. The floors are slick and uncarpeted. Thus, thousands of Wal-Mart visitors slip and fall in these stores every year. However, when can Wal-Mart be held liable for these incidents?
Wal-Mart, along with other places of business, has a duty to keep its premises safe for its visitors. This means keeping the premises free from hazards, such as spills, which are one of the most commonly cited causes of slip and fall accidents.
Consider the following scenario. Chicago is experiencing a snowstorm. Patrons coming in and out of Wal-Mart track snow and mud in on their boots. Though a few floor mats are placed at the entrances and exits of the store, the snow melts and the mud spreads across the floor. Not a single “wet floor” sign is set out, and the floor is not mopped for an hour. A woman enters the store, slips, falls, and breaks her hip.
In this situation, Wal-Mart would likely be liable for the woman’s injury. Wal-Mart had a duty to keep the premises safe and free of hazards. Failing to warn patrons of the wet floor and the failure to clean the floor were breaches of this duty. Therefore, Wal-Mart may be ordered to pay the woman’s damages, which include her medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other harm she suffers.
The same situation would result if a spill occurred on one of the store’s aisles. If a carton of milk spilled; if a bag of dog food split open, spilling kernels onto the floor; if the ceiling leaked onto the floor—all of these are situations in which Wal-Mart may be held liable for a patron’s injuries if he or she slips and falls in the store.
To recover for injuries, a victim must prove that the store had notice of the spill and failed to warn others of it and/or failed to clean it up in a timely manner. If a spill occurs and ten minutes later someone slips and falls, the store may not be liable because courts may determine that it is unreasonable to expect an employee of the store to notice the spill and have it cleaned up within a ten-minute period. However, if forty-five minutes or an hour had passed, the courts may rule differently.
Contact our slip and fall attorneys today
At Stein & Shulman, major corporations like Wal-Mart do not intimidate our attorneys. We know how to support your claim so that you get the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call 312-422-0500.