When 29 year old Sherry Haley went to her local Wal-Mart in Farmington, Maine on February 3, 1998, instead of walking out with merchandise, she left with a lawsuit. Haley sued Wal-Mart for negligence in a U.S. District Court after her shoulder was injured by a stack of car mechanic devices known as “creepers” that fell on her. Creepers are wooden skids on wheels that allow a mechanic to slide easily under cars to make repairs. A safety expert testified that Wal-Mart had stacked the creepers in an unsafe manner, according to the Associated Press. Wal-Mart denied the devices, which weigh 8 pounds each, were dangerously stacked. But a federal magistrate judge did not agree, and ordered Wal-Mart to pay Haley $22,167 in medical damages, and $50,000 for pain, suffering and permanent impairment. Haley’s lawyer was hoping that the judge would award Haley money for future lost earnings also, since the mother of three’s injury was so serious that she is “basically unemployable”. Haley needed shoulder surgery after her injury. Her surgeon estimated that she has 25% impairment in her upper body, and 15% impairment in her whole body since the injury. A Wal-Mart spokesman told the AP that the company has not decided whether or not it will appeal the case and force Haley to keep fighting them in the courts. “We don’t believe there was anything wrong in the way the creepers were displayed at our store,” Wal-Mart said. “At this time, we are exploring our options.” But what options does Sherry Haley have now?
There are thousands of personal injury accidents at Wal-Mart every year. For more information on “falling merchandise” claims against Wal-Mart, go to www.walmartlitigation.com, or walmartsurivor.com. This company has such a thriving business in personal injury lawsuits that websites have been set up to warn the public about the dangers of shopping at Wal-Mart. The Walmartlitigation website chronicles many of the injuries consumers suffer each year at Wal-Mart. In most of these cases, Wal-Mart will not admit wrong-doing or liability on their part, forcing injured consumers to fight it out in court with Wal-Mart — a process that can take years. It is said that because Wal-Mart is self-insured, and has no liability insurance, the company prefers to force its injured customers to hassle their claims out in court — clogging up the courts with thousands of similar cases every year. See other Newsflash entries in the index for more injury stories. But you already knew that Wal-Mart stores were full of creepers, didn’t you?