$11.25 Million Verdict in Slip-And-Fall Case Against Walmart

A Virginia jury returned an $11.25 million verdict in favor of a doctor who suffered a permanent back injury when he slipped and fell in a Wal-Mart store. The plaintiff was radiation oncologist Christopher Walsh. The trial lasted three days. Dr. Walsh was at a Wal-Mart store five years ago when he stepped on a recently-treated patch of floor. Dr. Walsh fell very hard on his elbow.
A Wal-Mart employee had just stripped or waxed the floor, and had gone to get safety cones to warn customers. There were no signs to warn that the floor was slippery. His swollen and painful elbow masked a more permanent problem with his spine. Spinal fractures were not discovered until a year and a half later. The ongoing pain put a strain on Dr. Walsh’s cancer treatment practice. He had opened a one-doctor office to serve a rural community in 2005, and he had to hire other doctors and take frequent breaks to keep going after the accident.
The special damages in the case totaled $1.7 million. Dr. Walsh had demanded $3.5 million to settle before trial, but Wal-Mart only offered $750,000. Wal-Mart did not dispute liability and defended only on damages. The slippery patch of floor could not be seen and Dr. Walsh did nothing to cause himself to fall. John P. Harris III, a lawyer from Fredericksburg, Virginia and Edward E. Scher, who is from Richmond, represented Dr. Walsh. They did a very good job on this case.