Personal injury Library

How Do Work Injury Lawsuits Against Walmart Work?

If you are a Walmart employee who was injured on the job, or if you are the loved one of a Walmart employee who was killed on the job, then Texas law gives you the right to sue Walmart.

But the important question is: Should you sue Walmart?

It depends. If you have minor injuries, it's usually best to avoid a work injury lawsuit. But if you suffered major injuries (or if your loved one was killed) while working for Walmart, then filing a lawsuit is probably your best option and will likely result in a substantially larger recovery than any other approach.

In this article, we'll talk about Walmart work injury lawsuits in detail. The topics we'll cover include the following:

But if you'd rather skip all the reading, just give us a call. We love talking about the law and will gladly walk you through our approach.

Walmart Has Opted Out of the Texas Workers' Comp. Program

As previously stated, you can sue Walmart for a work injury or workplace fatality. But how? Don't most people just receive workers' compensation benefits when they're hurt on the job?

In every state except Texas, all businesses are required to participate in a state-sanctioned workers' compensation program. This means that they must pay money into a fund or insurance pool, and if one of their workers is hurt or killed, the benefits (either direct payments or payments for medical bills) are paid through the workers' compensation program. The whole idea behind such a program is that work injuries are treated like filing for welfare instead of being resolved in a courtroom.

But Texas is different.

In Texas, companies can either opt into the state-sanctioned workers' compensation program or they can opt-out. When they opt out, they are called "non-subscribers."

RELATED: What to Do When You’re Injured on the Job with No Workers’ Compensation

Walmart is a non-subscriber. This means that they do not participate in a state-sanctioned workers' compensation program. And under Texas law, companies who opt out of the workers' compensation program can be sued by their workers.

Now that we've established that you can sue Walmart, our next topic is whether you should.

When is it a GOOD Idea to Sue Walmart?

If you have serious injuries (or if your loved one was killed) due to an accident that was caused by Walmart's negligence, carelessness, lack of concern for safety, or unsafe practices, then it is a good idea to file a lawsuit against Walmart.

So, how serious does an injury have to be? You should consider filing a lawsuit against Walmart if your (or your loved one's) accident involves:

hire a lawyer to sue walmart

Workers who suffer serious injuries can sue for significant compensation. This includes compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Past lost wages
  • Future lost wages
  • Past medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

In other words, there are a variety of different types of losses that you can sue to be compensated for, and they add up. To put this in perspective, in a recent case we litigated against Walmart involving a traumatic brain injury sustained by an employee, we resolved the case for several million dollars.

Now, filing a lawsuit against Walmart isn't the only option. Walmart also has an in-house work injury benefit plan that sort of imitates the workers' compensation program. In other words, it is a benefits plan where Walmart will pay you for certain things (such as lost wages or medical bills) without you having to sue them. But as you might imagine, the amount of compensation you'd receive voluntarily from Walmart is typically far less than you would receive if you sued them instead.

Nevertheless, some injured workers would rather maintain a good relationship with Walmart and therefore prefer not to sue them, even if it means leaving money on the table.

If you're just not the suing type, call us, and we can direct you to a lawyer who can represent you in a benefits claim within the Walmart in-house benefit plan.

But if you're ready to seek maximum compensation, then we're the firm for you. Call us, and we will discuss the best strategy to sue Walmart for your injury.

When is it a BAD Idea to Sue Walmart?

It is generally a bad idea to sue Walmart when you have minor or moderate injuries.

Instead, you should seek compensation in the form of benefits from the Walmart's in-house benefit plan.

Work injury lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming affairs. It doesn't make practical sense for you to sue Walmart if you have minor or moderate injuries, because, even if you win, you'd likely spend more than you would recover. Sure, the benefits that Walmart offers through its in-house benefit plan are not particularly generous. However, it's rather inexpensive for you to obtain those benefits. As such, that path makes the most sense for people with minor or moderate injuries.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?

If you choose to sue Walmart, then the answer is YES.

You absolutely will need an attorney to represent you. Texas work injury law is more complex than any other state's work injury laws. Further, the art and science of persuading a court to give you what you want is something that lawyers develop over years of practice in hundreds of cases. If you are injured badly enough to warrant a lawsuit, then the stakes are high, so get a competent, experienced lawyer who has a track record of making Walmart pay.

If, however, you choose not to sue, then the answer is probably NO.

If you choose to obtain compensation from Walmart's in-house benefit plan, then you probably don't need a lawyer. The way their plan works is that you don't get paid very much through the plan, but it is paid without a fight. The only reason you may decide to get a lawyer to represent you in navigating a benefits claim is if something goes wrong.

A Brief Overview of Walmart's In-House Work Injury Benefit Plan

We've touched on it a couple of times already, but let's take a moment to discuss Walmart's in-house work injury benefit plan in more detail. As a non-subscriber, Walmart has no obligation under Texas law to provide any work injury benefits. However, they have chosen to voluntarily create a benefit plan.

What's the idea behind the plan? It depends on who you ask. Some see it as a nice way for a company to provide its employees with a financial safety net. Others see it as a bureaucratic mess that leaves employees baffled and not knowing what their rights are. And another group view it as a cynical attempt to pay the bare minimum.

But here's how it works. Walmart has a network of doctors whom they have agreed to work with. The company sends workers to these doctors. They are then evaluated and medical professionals propose a course of treatment. After that, a Walmart benefits coordinator will then determine if the situation warrants paid leave. If the benefits coordinator determines that the injured worker meets the necessary criteria, then the worker gets a portion of their wages and can stay at home and recover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What benefits does Texas law require Walmart to provide injured and deceased workers?

A: Since Walmart opts out of the workers compensation program, Walmart is not required to pay any benefits under Texas law.

Q: What is a work injury or wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart worth?

A: The answer to this question is highly dependent on the circumstances of the injury or death. As each case is different, there is no simple formula that can cover all scenarios and tell a worker this kind of injury is worth X dollars.

With that being said, generally speaking, truly incapacitating injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or workplace fatality, in all likelihood are seven-figure to multi-seven figure cases. This of course assumes that the employee wasn't on drugs at the time of the incident and was not 100% to blame for their injury.

RELATED: What Determines the Amount of a Wrongful Death Settlement in Texas?

As previously mentioned, the particular facts of your case will help determine its value and we would happy to discuss those facts with you, in an effort to provide you with a more accurate assessment of your case's worth.

Q: How long do I have to file a work injury or wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart in Texas?

A: Generally speaking, injured workers or a deceased worker's family members (specifically, the spouse, parents children) have 2 years to pursue a claim against Walmart under Texas law.

Q: Are there special rules for Walmart truck drivers?

A: Maybe. If you are a truck driver was injured while driving as an employee for Walmart, then you are treated the same as any other employee with respect to Texas work injury law. So, if you were hurt on the job while driving for Walmart and your home base is in Texas, then everything discussed in this article applies to you, and you therefore can sue Walmart if your injuries were caused by Walmart's negligence.

Where things can get tricky is where a Texas-based Walmart truck driver is hurt while on the job, yet they were hurt by someone other than Walmart. For example, imagine a truck driver who is sideswiped by a passenger car, which causes their 18-wheeler to rollover. That's not Walmart's fault because Walmart was presumably not negligent. So, you can't sue Walmart.

RELATED: Texas Commercial Truck Accident Law

However, you can sue the driver who caused your wreck. If that other driver has a large insurance policy, then your case really doesn't involve Walmart at all. If it turns out that the other driver has a low-value insurance policy, then you may be able to file a claim against the auto insurance policy that you have on your Walmart truck under what is known as an under-insured motorist claim.

Q: Will I be fired if I pursue a work injury lawsuit against Walmart?

A: It's possible. Texas law does not prohibit non-subscriber employers from firing workers who sue them. In our experience, generally, Walmart does not immediately fire workers who file a work injury lawsuit, but often waits until the case is resolved and then terminates employment. In fact, many of our clients were fired the same day the case settled.

So while the threat of losing your job is certainly real, the particular circumstances of your situation will determine whether or not it's worth assuming that risk and pursuing a case against Walmart.

Q: Is it true that I can't sue Walmart because I signed a binding arbitration agreement?

A: This is absolutely false. Let's unpack this question. As a part of the hiring process, almost all Walmart employees sign an agreement stating that any disputes (like a work injury lawsuit) will be heard in arbitration, not a normal court of law. The easiest way to think of arbitration is that it's like a private court, where, instead of a jury, an arbitrator hears and rules on your case.

Where people get confused is that they incorrectly believe that, just because the arbitration agreement prevents you from pursuing your case and having it heard by a jury in a normal, you cannot pursue a case against Walmart at all. This is flat-out wrong. Pursuing a case through arbitration can still allow injured workers to obtain significant compensation. In fact, over the years, our attorneys have helped numerous clients successfully resolve their case through the arbitration process.

Q: How experienced is Grossman Law Offices at handling th