Jury Awards $10M In Walmart Amputation Lawsuit
Walmart mostly faces premises liability lawsuits. These suits do not involve amputation injuries traditionally. In one case, however, a woman stepped on a rusty nail and the ensuing injury required that she have part of her leg amputated. She went to the hospital to have the wound treated, but the wound became infected. Eventually, doctors were required to take a part of the woman’s leg to prevent the infection from spreading. By the time the infection was stopped, the woman had lost most of her right leg. She filed a lawsuit against Walmart and recovered a verdict of $10 million to compensate her for her medical expenses, future lost wages, and the fact that she is wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life.
Walmart indicated that they plan to appeal the verdict.
Is Walmart liable for the injury?
Yes, the woman stepped on a nail that had fallen onto the floor. The condition was likely created by staff and had been present for a while prior to the injury. Walmart is responsible for medical expenses related to the injury.
Walmart likely has a problem with paying for three surgeries related to amputation. They may be under the impression that the doctors contributed negligence to this claim because most foot injuries do not result in amputation. They may also believe that the woman had pre-existing conditions that contributed to the severity of her injury. In other words, while they may not be able to defeat the claim on its face, they may feel as though they’re paying more than they should for the defendant’s injuries.
They may also feel as though the defendant failed to establish that a Walmart employee was responsible for the nail. Nonetheless, your burden of proof in a civil case is a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s more likely than not that Walmart did contribute liability to the injury.
So, there are several reasons that Walmart is upset about the verdict. Firstly, a nail through the foot should not result in an amputation when cared for by competent doctors. Secondly, the plaintiff failed to establish how the nail got on the floor and whether or not it belonged to Walmart. And lastly, no one else was sued over the woman’s amputation, largely because medical malpractice lawsuits are costly, difficult to file, and have substantially lower settlements in these cases.
If Walmart appeals and wins, it would vacate the settlement. If Walmart appeals and loses, they would be required to pay interest on any settlement withheld while awaiting a verdict on appeal.
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