Walmart Is Not Required To Pay Your Medical Bills Until You Prove Your Case That It Did Something Wrong
By: Jeffrey Shaw, Esq.
Published: March 12, 2017
No landowner — not even Walmart — is automatically required to pay your medical bills until you prove it was their “fault.” Even if you fell upon their land.
Indiana law requires that an injured person prove the other business, entity or person was “negligent” first. This means proving that the landowner did not do something a reasonable and prudent landowner would do to keep its land safe or did do something unreasonable compared to other landowners.
Now what do you do?
See “The 10 Steps You Need to Take to Win Your Case” above.
But, the most important of these steps is calling the right attorney.
Shaw Law and Attorney Jeff Shaw has handled slip and falls against Walmart stores in Indiana.
Before you can recover anything for your injuries, you must still prove that the business was “at fault.” Figuring out whether the property owner is at fault for your slip and fall is done on a case-by-case basis by a court or jury. In most instances for customers on a business property, you must prove the landowner did not act reasonably by breaching its duty to you of being “careful” like a normal business or person would be after inviting you on its property to shop or browse.
For Walmart, there are 3 typical instances how and where customers slip and fall:
On the sidewalk or parking lot where snow and ice can accumulate
Around where liquids are handled by customers — usually the refrigerated aisles
Near the entrances (in between the sliding glass doors where the shopping carts are located or just inside the main floor sliding glass doors)
Shaw Law and Attorney Jeff Shaw has handled dozens of slip and falls against Walmart stores throughout the State of Indiana.
Walmart typically will hire third-party businesses to perform snow and ice removal and maintenance during winter months. Some jurors think that’s enough to prove what they did was reasonable to keep customers “safe.” After all, they reason, Walmart can only hire somebody — then it’s the snow plow operator’s fault.
But, there are other factors to consider. Walmart is a huge company with many employees. It is ludicrous to believe it is not responsible to do more than sign a contract when it comes to keeping a parking lot or sidewalk free from ice or snow.
How Do My Medical Bills Get Paid if I Slip and Fall at Walmart?
So, do your medical bills go unpaid?
Yes, they can until you prove your case.
This is a difficult concept for many people to understand. We might be get misinformation from family and friends that Walmart is “legally required” to pay your medical bills in every slip and fall instance.
It seems logical that the landowner should have insurance to cover your medical bills regardless of fault (and some do have coverage that covers a small amount of bills regardless of fault, but it is rare). But the law says otherwise.
So, how do your medical bills get paid in a slip and fall?
Well, sometimes you have health insurance that will pay a portion. Other times you might have Medicaid or Medicare or other governmental insurance that will pay.
If you were on the job at the time, you can have worker’s compensation insurance that will pay your bills.
But, if you do not have those things available to you, the settlement might be the funds for paying unpaid medical bills.
Some physicians or other medical providers might accept a “letter of protection” once they learn you have a lawsuit pending against the business where you fell. That allows them to treat you but be paid back at the conclusion of the case upon your promise and Shaw Law’ promise to do so.
Some hospitals will render treatment but then take a “lien” against your case to be paid back if you ever recover any funds in your lawsuit. This is allowed by Indiana law, too.
There are 2 important concepts to remember:
No matter who pays — health insurance, the government or a promise to pay — you will be required to pay them back if you receive a settlement or verdict; and
The landowner’s insurance company already knows your obligations to repay and has considered that in its offer to you to settle.
One small piece of good news is that often your repayments can be negotiated for a lower repayment than the original bills for medical services. There are exceptions (ERISA based health plans and hospital liens will almost never accept less).
If Shaw Law is able to negotiate your repayment for lower than expected — YOU GET THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE REDUCTION RETURNED TO YOU, WE TAKE NO FEES.
This is another reason why it is so important to hire the right attorneys.
Here at Shaw Law we have decades of experience in handling slip and fall claims. Call us today to discuss your case.
Anybody can fall. It can be devastating and lead to financial hardships.