The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet
Subject: Scar Injury Claim
Question: I’m writing on behalf of my friend. She and her boyfriend were in WalMart late at night, when there’s typically a lot of stocking and cleaning,etc., being done. A young male employee was about to begin mopping the floor. When they approached the area he was about to mop, he told them not to walk on that part of the floor. My friend’s boyfriend said that was the only way they could reach the item they wanted to purchase and walked across it anyway, retrieved the item and tried to continue on to the cashier with it. The employee got mad and threw his mop down hard on the floor, and the mop bounced off the floor and hit my friend on her leg and hurt her.
She immediately cried, "He hurt me! Look at my leg!" etc., and there was a mark on her shin where the mop had hit her.
Her boyfriend was close to hitting the employee, but he did not, but he did make him apologize to my friend for hurting her.
They then called for a manager and the employee was called into the office where my friend and her boyfriend also were. The employee was fired on the spot, and my friend was given a claim form to fill out. She also took pictures of the mark on her leg, and noted that she was limping from this then too. There was at least one witness to the incident, an electronics department employee, who agreed with her statement of what happened completely, and she got his name at the time. She was also already calling up her lawyer on her cellphone at the time they were in the office being given the claim form.
Her lawyer told her the next day that she had a good case, and he would take it on contingency. But he’s not been very communicative since then, and she’s not sure what’s going on now. It’s been over 2 months. The mark is still very visible on her leg, and is sure to leave a scar.
She did get a call from WalMart saying they had a settlement offer for her, but she missed the call and just got this in a message from her teenage daughter and hasn’t heard what the offer is. Her lawyer has filed the case with the courthouse, but we don’t know what’s happening now. This all happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I’ve read thru many of these cases on this site that you all are answering questions about, and I haven’t seen any cases like hers, where the injury at WalMart was caused by an employee on purpose. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about how this fact might make things different than the typical "slip and fall" case that I’ve seen so many of in these questions.
Basically, we are just very curious to know how much she can expect to be paid from this, even a ballpark figure… are we talking hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands…?? Obviously we are clueless about this.
As I read thru the cases on this site, I noticed how some of these injuries people got are very serious, and this makes me wonder why my friend’s lawyer seems to think she has such a good case, when her injury was very minor, especially compared to some of these others. I do believe she will have a scar there forever, but she never had to go to the doctor for this, all it did was make her walk with a limp for a week or so and leave that mark on her shin. But the employee (former) obviously mistreated them and WalMart obviously agrees she should be compensated somehow for it, but can you tell us anything more at all about this, even if it’s just speculation?
Thanks for your help.
Answer: The answer to your question depends on the law in Oklahoma for this type of incident. I am an attorney in Florida so I can’t advise you about Oklahoma’s laws. Laws vary from state to state so what happens in Florida may not be the case in Oklahoma.
However, the amount of damages your friend can expect depends on the severity of her scar, and any other medical issues that resulted from the mop incident. If it is a scar that is very visible and large, the value of her scar injury claim goes up. If it is a scar that is not visible, and/or its a smaller scar, the value is smaller. Your friend should document the existence of the scar through photographs in the event it disappears, or gets worse over time.
A scar injury claim is usually a valuable claim, particularly if the injured person is a woman, and the scar is visible. For some reason, insurance companies don’t seem to be bothered if a man gets a scar, unless it is very visible, i.e. on his face.
Wal Mart is responsible for the incident as it occurred during the course and scope of the employees job, and while he was on duty. I’m not sure why her attorney "has filed the case with the courthouse". Usually, you try to settle claims "pre-suit" before filing a lawsuit. I would guess approximately 60-70% of claims settle pre-suit in Florida. Additionally, Wal Mart will usually consider a pre-suit demand letter and try to negotiate a settlement before suit is filed. You may not be happy with the amount of their offer, but if not, you can always file suit.
You should check with her attorney to find out what the status of the scar injury claim is. The attorney should be contacting Wal Mart if Wal Mart has indicated a willingness.
Again, its difficult to give you an estimate of the value, but if its a minimal scar, your friend can expect a settlement offer of thousands, not hundreds of thousands. Your attorney should be able to tell you what the case is worth.
For more information about a scar injury claim, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today.
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