When the term “slip and fall” is used to describe an accident, it tends to minimize our sense of the seriousness of the incident. Rarely do we think that any injury will have occurred, and if so we assume that they will be minor. The reality is that slip and fall accidents can be extremely serious, and often lead to life-changing injuries or even to death. In some instances the damage of a slip and fall is done when the person falls and strikes a part of their body on the floor or on another object; in other cases the damage is incurred when the person contorts their body trying to catch themselves and prevent the fall. Whatever the mechanism of the accident or injury, when the fall occurs as a result of negligence on the part of a property owner or business, the person who is injured is eligible to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their medical expenses, economic damages such as lost wages, and any long-term loss of ability that they suffer.
A Philadelphia jury recently heard a slip and fall case I which a 51-year old woman slipped on a small wet spot at her local grocery store, Bottom Dollar Food. Though her suit sought just $100,000 in damages, the jury returned with an award of $1.5 million as a result of their understanding of the lifelong impact of her injury.
The woman’s injury occurred in the summer of 2014, and the accident was captured on the store’s security video. When she slipped she stretched her left hand out to catch herself, suffering a serious fracture that needed open surgery and the insertion of plates and screws. Though the food store defended itself by arguing that other customers had walked through the spot without falling and that she had originally claimed she slipped on a grape, their own security footage showed an employee cleaning a spot after the fall. Further, the injured woman’s attorneys presented evidence that the area where the accident occurred was required by the store’s internal rules to have safety mats down, but none were present.
Testimony regarding the woman’s injuries was presented by expert witnesses, who indicated that she had permanent post-traumatic arthritis. Her own testimony detailed reduced strength, tingling and numbness, and a tendency to drop things.
The food chain has filed a motion to ask for the award to be overturned, pointing to the fact that the woman submitted receipts showing only $8,332 in economic damages, but the attorney for the plaintiff indicated that the jurors had simply used common sense and understood that she had suffered a real injury with permanent damage. If you suffer an injury as a result of a slip and fall accident, having representation by an effective personal injury attorney can make all the difference in your ability to get the compensation that you deserve.