Most of us are familiar with slip and fall accidents in which shoppers come to grief on wet surfaces in stores. However, injuries in stores can take many forms. In a recent case, a man was awarded $7.5 million following a watermelon accident in a Walmart.
The case was brought by Henry Walker against a Walmart in Alabama. A FindLaw report noted he hurt himself after his foot became caught in a wooden pallet on the floor as he reached for a watermelon. He fell and shattered his hip.
Walker sued the retail giant. He claimed Walmart should have known the pallet was an injury hazard. Walter’s lawyers argued the retailer failed to exercise reasonable care, to maintain and keep its store in a reasonably safe condition and omitted to warn the public of unsafe and hazardous conditions at the store.
A jury agreed and awarded the Phenix City man $7.5 million against Walmart.
A retailer or its staff should be aware of a danger to be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. Walker’s attorney presented evidence to jurors that he was not the only customer to come to grief on the pallet.
He showed jurors security footage from the store showing other shoppers getting their feet caught in the side of the pallet. Walker’s feet were trapped as he reached in for some watermelon. When he tried to turn around his foot got stuck and he fell.
The fall had a serious impact on Walker’s life. The 59-year-old played basketball with friends regularly a week before fall. After his injury, he had to use a walker. He was rendered unable to do everyday tasks that many people take for granted.
The jury awarded Walker $2.5 million in compensatory damages and a further $5 million in punitive damages intended to punish the retailer.
Walmart branded the verdict excessive and signaled its intention to appeal.
The Alabama case was not the first time in recent years that America’s biggest retailer has been in a high profile lawsuit.
In 2014, Tracy Morgan, a former star of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” suffered a serious head injury when a Walmart truck hit his limousine van on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The crash claimed the life of his friend James McNair, while other passengers also suffered injuries.
Walmart paid an undisclosed sum to the comedian who claimed he was left brain damaged. Wal-Mart Stores Inc later settled a lawsuit brought by two insurers that sought to avoid covering a multi-million-dollar payout to Morgan for his injuries.
If you have suffered a personal injury in Georgia, please call our Newnan injury lawyer today for a consultation at (404) 913-1529.