When it comes to an injury at Walmart, things are more complex than other big box retailers. Walmart prides itself in aggressively proving its store is not at fault. Here is why…
Walmart is one of the largest retail stores in the world with locations across the globe. In Virginia, Walmart operates over 108 Supercenters, 5 discount stores, 21 Neighborhood Markets, and 16 Sam’s Clubs. Walmart has built their empire on a low-price strategy. This money-saving strategy includes being self-insured. Most other large retail businesses use a third-party insurance to oversee injury claims. Not Walmart. They save more Walmart money by cutting out the insurance middle-man and have created a pseudo-internal insurance division, Claims Management Inc (CMI).
Having a pseudo-internal claims insurance division means that Walmart has more skin in the game. The dollars that are paid from the Walmart insurance division dips ino Walmart’s bottom line. This strategy leads to Walmart having one of the toughest processes to make negligent injury claims and the most diligent in denying claims. Just as Walmart keeps their prices low through tough negotiations with their suppliers, their legal team will aggressively pursue the denial of your injury claim. Understanding who Claims Management Inc (CMI) is in the equation is crucial in pursuing a personal injury claim against Walmart.
Who is Claims Management, Inc., a.k.a CMI?
While CMI is a pseudo-internal claims insurance division of Walmart, however it was set-up as a separate corporation. CMI has no other clients and represents no other stores or organizations other than Walmart. CMI representatives do not work for Walmart directly, but CMI exists and works only for Walmart. Why indirectly? Why setup a separate entity at all unless you want to keep the relationship a secret? Why would Walmart do that? If you knew you were going to sue Walmart for negligence causing your slip and fall injury, then would you willingly talk to Walmart’s legal team without being on guard? Of course not. Walmart wants you to feel that you are submitting an insurance claim, like in a car accident, to a third-party insurance company. They want you to comfortably share all the details of your incident and case on record to potentially use in building THEIR case, not yours. CMI’s real purpose is to help Walmart avoid liability for your accident. They are not a third-party “insurance” company whose duty is to look out for their insured; they are a profit protection mechanism of corporate Walmart.
CMI is calling me so much, don’t they care about me?
CMI representatives are relentless. They will call and call and call, until they can pin you down. They want to dissect your claim like a frog in a high school science class. If you think, “they must really care about me and want to help” you are wrong. CMI employee’s job, their only job, is limiting Walmart’s financial exposure to lawsuit injuries. Their sole task is doing what it takes towards that end. While investigating a Walmart accident claim, the CMI representatives will often sound very sympathetic and caring… at first anyway. They are trained to use key trigger words and tones to illicit a sense of empathy. They go to classes and seminars to learn how to make you feel they are on your side and gain your trust in any way they can. The tone of the CMI rep will change as you go through the claims process, ultimately turning aggressive. In reality, they want you to just go away and drop your claim. If you don’t, they want you to provide them with the ammo to defeat you.
Why does CMI insists on recording my statement?
Remember that a key component of a CMI representative is dissecting each claim. Pinning you down with a recorded statement is their first priority. CMI claims representatives are trained to make you believe the request for a recorded statement is no big deal, just standard operating procedure. They act as if you must give them a recorded statement before you can even report a claim. You don’t. You are not required to give CMI a recorded statement after a Walmart accident. In fact, I advise people not to do so. Remember, they want your statement to use in building THEIR case, not yours. There is no benefit to you in giving CMI a recorded statement. Prepare yourself – because once you say no to providing a recorded statement, the CMI representative may act angry, or sad, or frustrated. They are trained to do use emotion and key trigger words to convince you to provide a recorded statement. They will try with all their might to convince you to give them the statement, but don’t.
If CMI is working to deny my claim and doesn’t plan on paying my medical bills, why do they ask me to send them my medical bills and records?
From the perspective of CMI, why not? It’s a free look at your evidence. If you ask them “Will you put it in writing that if I send you my medical records and bills, you will pay the bills?” They will respond, “no” or “we will see, I have to look at them first.” They will never agree, and they will never agree in writing. CMI claims representatives are experts in manipulation, asking you to send in your medical bills and medical records are one of the tricks of the trade. They ask you to send these in, KNOWING you will think they are looking out for you and will think they plan to take care of the bills – but they never said that. They are trained to never say the magic words “we will pay your medical bills.” CMI will use the medical records and medical bills you give them to build their investigative file against you. More often than not, once you have provided these records, you will never hear from CMI again. They may not even return your calls. If they do, the only answer you will hear is, “We are still reviewing the claim.” You have given them the free look they were hoping for, they are done with you. Keep an eye on your mailbox as well, eventually, maybe, you will hear from them. . . most likely it will be a denial letter for your injury claim from CMI.
How Can They Deny My Claim?
Because CMI only exists to help Walmart figure out how not to pay your injury claim. Their expert tactics have been developed by lawyers, consultants and trained professionals for years to avoid responsibility for your accident. If they cannot come up with a way to avoid liability, they will make every effort to minimize your injury. They blame any and every reason they can to convince you that your injury is not related to the slip and fall accident. Here is what you might hear: you hurt yourself before, your condition is degenerative i.e. you are old, your treatment is excessive, or not related, or they will just plain tell you are not injured as you claim – they will call you a liar. CMI uses these tricks across the board for accident claims against Walmart, but don’t just take my word for it – check out this injured customer’s report on ripoffreport.
What can you do to hold Walmart accountable for your injury?
People are often at their most vulnerable when they are injured. In the pursuit of denying your claim, Walmart, through CMI, will use every advantage they can. Understanding Walmart’s slip and fall claim strategy as discussed in this article is the first step in combating these tactics. The next step is to speak with a personal injury lawyer with specific experience litigating against Walmart. A skilled injury lawyer with specific Walmart experience will help you avoid the pitfalls. How you handle your claim before you hire a lawyer, and how your experienced lawyer handles your claim afterwards, can possibly be the difference between your accident case being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, or going it alone and getting zero. Proving a slip and fall injury case against Walmart is difficult enough, giving Walmart and CMI ammunition can be detrimental to your case.
Get the Right Lawyer.
Larry W. Lockwood, Jr. cut his lawyer teeth taking it to the big railroads for people injured by their negligence. Railroad corporate legal departments and their lawyers are among the best of the best in fighting injury claims. Also among the best, is Walmart’s legal teams. Larry has handled several cases against Walmart and has won large settlements for people injured in slip and fall cases in their stores.
Remember, if you have been injured in a slip and fall at Walmart, or any other accident at a Walmart store, let Larry W. Lockwood, Jr. of the Hunter Law Firm help you on the road to legal recovery. You can talk to Larry personally, not just a staff member or a paralegal. Larry says, “I am a big time lawyer, with a small town touch.” Talking to Larry about your slip and fall case is free!
If you have been injured at a big box retailer, contact us online or call one of our five convenient offices.