The signs in the Wal-Mart stores used to read: “Watch for Falling Prices”. They more properly should have read: “Watch for falling merchandise”. It turns out that it’s safer to fly in an airplane than to shop at a Wal-Mart. According to a court deposition given by Pam Lee, the Systems Manager for Claims Management, Inc, the third party administrator which handles customer claims and workers compensation claims for Wal-Mart, between January of 1991 and June of 1995, there were a staggering 25,426 personal injury “liability occurrences” at Wal-Mart stores which involved “struck by merchandise” injuries. In addition, there were 7,444 workmen’s compensation claims from injured Wal-Mart employees. Wal-Mart claims to have 3,000 boxes of claims in its files, or over 200,000 pages of “falling merchandise” documents. These figures are not even total claims, since Claims Management, Inc. does not cover 19 states in which Wal-Mart does business. There are so many kinds of personal injury claims at Wal-Mart, that the company keeps track of its falling merchandise claims by dividing them into 14 different categories. If a customer is injured in the store, Wal-Mart has liability insurance, but it is self-insured, and includes no medical payout. Victims of falling merchandise events claim that Wal-Mart forces them to sue the company for health care damages. It often takes many years to pursue such claims through the court. Because of the way superstores stack their merchandise, and the resulting proliferation of serious personal injuries, some advocates have suggested that Wal-Mart should have their “greeters” provide shoppers with crash helmets upon leaving the stores. Although this would represent a new cost to Wal-Mart, the company could lower its accident costs, and offer advertising opportunities to their vendors on the helmets. So shop till they “drop” you, at Wal-Mart.
For further information about personal injury cases at Wal-Mart, scroll down these newsflash pages, and go to www.walmartsurvivor.com