Big box stores like Target, Costco, and Walmart are very popular due to their vast selection and low prices. People will travel a long distance to load up on groceries and other items, often making weekly visits to save money. We aren’t surprised at how these stores have sprung up in and around Atlanta over the past 30 years.
However, getting injured in one of these stores can become a nightmare for accident victims and their families. These companies have grown so big so fast because they aggressively protect their bottom line. Any injured victim seeking compensation for a premises accident faces difficulty getting the company to listen sympathetically. Instead, these big box stores and their insurers are more likely to deny any and all responsibility. Contact our Atlanta premises liability attorney to discuss your chances of bringing a claim.
How Customers Are Injured in Big Box Stores
Many accidents stem from negligent behavior from store staff and management, which result in:
- Spilled liquids which are never mopped up
- Trash or debris on the floors which is never swept up
- Potholes in the parking lot which are never fixed
- Ice which forms on cold winter days and is never melted or sanded
- Heavy items improperly shelved, so they fall on customers
- Negligent security which allows criminals to attack people in stores and in parking lots
- Angry or unstable employees who attack customers physically
- Defective shopping carts and scooters which can collapse and send people sprawling
Every week, visitors are injured by these hazards. They can fall, hit their heads, or suffer injuries in a violent attack. These accidents are largely avoidable—but only if the company took the time to look out for the safety of its customers.
These Stores Are Not Looking Out for Your Best Interests
Walmart and other stores might call customers “guests,” but once you are injured, they will view you more like an enemy than a friend. Anyone injured by the store’s negligence can sue for compensation—and the store knows it. They will suddenly try to get you to accept a lower settlement offer, or they might even deny responsibility.
We have seen big box stores:
- Refuse access to surveillance video which would reveal how long the hazard has existed and whether the store knew about it
- Deny requests to interview staff to find out what they know about the accident
- Hang up the phone on injured victims or their attorneys when they call seeking information
- Use recorded statements against victims
- Blame victims for their own accidents, which allows the company to slide out from under responsibility for the accident
- Refuse to negotiate a settlement in good faith
- Deny liability even when it is obvious that they are at fault
Walmart even has its own division, Walmart Claims Services, which handles all claims against the company. This means an entire division in the corporation is dedicated to making sure Walmart isn’t held accountable for injuring innocent victims.
Negotiating with a big box store is a little bit like banging your head against a concrete wall. Fortunately, Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys has developed techniques for getting the evidence you need to make a claim.
How to Build a Case against a Big Box Store
These stores owe a duty of care to anyone they invite inside to do business. Don’t let Walmart, Costco, Target, or another big box store avoid paying compensation when their negligence harms you. If you were hurt by falling merchandise or in another accident, you can fight back.
Here’s how we get our client’s compensation:
Tip #1: Get as much evidence as you can at the scene. As soon as you are injured, take out your phone and get a picture of whatever hurt you. If you slipped on some trash, take a picture of it. If the shelves collapsed, ask someone to take a picture. Getting the evidence now is helpful because the store might fix the defect and act like it didn’t exist. These stores are not above claiming you tripped over your own feet!
Tip #2: Reach out to an attorney immediately. If you call us, we can put the big box store on notice that they must preserve any relevant evidence, such as surveillance video. If they destroy or “lose” it, then a judge could sanction them.
Tip #3: Avoid giving a recorded statement to the store or an insurance adjuster. You don’t need to immediately answer questions about what happened. Instead, tell them to speak to your attorney. Stores use recorded statements to try and find any information they can use to minimize your legal claim. For example, you might say you were looking at your phone as you crossed a parking lot. They’ll seize on this and claim you are partially to blame for failing to step around a big pothole.
Tip #4: Receive medical treatment promptly. Take all rehab recommended by your physician, and make sure to fully document your medical care. By doing so, you show you are committed to getting well.
Filing a Lawsuit
Most premises liability cases can settle. Sadly, some stores are so resistant that they will do anything to avoid paying you compensation. When a company or its insurer refuses to bargain in good faith, we have no choice but to head to court.
Fortunately, our lawyers cut their teeth suing large corporations on behalf of everyday Atlantans. We know how to present evidence in a way that tell a coherent story of what happened. If Target or Walmart wants to play hardball, we have no problem with that.
Contact Our Premises Liability Attorneys
Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys is dedicated to accident victims’ rights. We understand how difficult it is to be injured in an accident. In addition to needing medical care, you might be unable to work. Instead of helping you, the store is probably ignoring your calls. Let us review your claim and analyze whether you can receive compensation. Please call (404) 529-3476 to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.