A retail business in West Virginia has a duty to keep its premises reasonably safe and to protect business invitees from being injured by dangerous conditions on the premises. A retail business must go further and make reasonable inspections to discover dangerous conditions on the premises. It must then repair them or give warning of the danger to customers. When a person suffers serious injury on a store’s premises, the prospect of a personal injury action against the retail establishment is always something for an in-depth evaluation.
A woman recently filed a personal injury action against a Walmart Store located in South Charleston in Kanawha County. The claim has to do with alleged serious injuries she suffered at the store on Aug. 2, 2013. While shopping in the store for back-to-school items with her five children, she bent down to pick something up and felt something hit against her left foot.
At that time, it is alleged that a store customer who was operating an assisted wheel chair shopping cart caused the cart to slice into the plaintiff’s left Achilles heel /tendon. When she attempted to move she found that she was bleeding profusely and could not walk. She was taken by ambulance to an emergency room.
The complaint requests damages for the sliced Achilles’ tendon, which required later surgery and rehabilitation treatments. It appears that the mechanized wheel chair cart was owned and provided to customers by Walmart. The complaint alleges that the mechanized cart had no bumper safety guards, and that Walmart had a duty to replace them prior to letting customers operate the cart.
Because she was injured by the actions of another customer, the validity of plaintiff’s injury claim pursuant to West Virginia law may be somewhat difficult to envision. However, the instrumentality that caused her personal injury was solely and exclusively under Walmart’s possession and control. As such, the store could reasonably have discovered that bumper guards were missing and could have repaired the problem. The remaining issue, i.e., legal causation, will apply liability to Walmart if the plaintiff can prove that the lack of bumper guards was a substantial factor in causing her injuries.
Source: wvrecord.com, “Putnam woman says her Achilles’ tendon was sliced at Walmart“, Chris Dickerson, Aug. 24, 2015