Published on July 6, 2015
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common categories of personal injury cases. These accidents often result in serious injuries for adults and the elderly. There are many potential causes including poor lighting, bad weather, wet floors, or unexpected obstacles. The duty to maintain public and commercial spaces usually falls to businesses and governments; and the legal arguments over what constitutes a reasonable amount of precaution and maintenance have led to some very interesting cases.
The Largest Slip and Fall Award Ever
In 2010 Holly Averyt slipped on a grease spill at a Wal-Mart in Greeley, Colorado. She suffered significant spinal injuries and needed three surgeries as a result. Unfortunately, she was also unable to return to work afterward. During the initial trial, Wal-Mart tried to claim that there was no grease spill. However, a city document, produced by the prosecution, showed this claim to be untrue. Consequently, the jury awarded Averyt $15 million in November of 2010.
On appeal, Wal-Mart was awarded a re-trial by the lower court because the fine was deemed to be excessive. The Supreme Court, however, threw out the order for a new trial after reducing the award to $10 million because of a state cap on non-economic damages.
A Broken Bone Creates Thousands of Jobs
Dietz v. United States (1992-93) was one of the rare slip n’ fall cases filed against the US government, and it had the interesting side effect of creating thousands of seasonal jobs across the country. Janet Dietz fell on the ice and suffered a broken leg while attempting to cross the sidewalk next to a federally owned building.
Dietz won the case and was awarded a cash settlement. After the case, the Federal Government needed to ensure that this sort of thing didn’t happen again. They did this by implementing stricter snow removal and deicing practices. This ended up creating thousands of winter job opportunities for seasonal summer workers like landscapers, who were fighting over fewer, less reliable private clients or had no work at all during the winter months.
Peanut Shells Are Now Officially a Hazard
Peanut shells generally aren’t considered a safety hazard. If you’ve ever been to a fair, a circus, or a major sporting event then you’ve probably walked all over these without a second thought. Angela Bishoff was the unlucky soul who discovered the dangerous conditions peanut shells can create when she slipped and broke her kneecap at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant.
Peanut shells contain oil, which typically soaks into concrete or dirt floors, but it didn’t on the Texas Roadhouse’s hardwood. This created a slipping hazard that the restaurant should have reasonably foreseen and prevented. As a result, the court awarded her 185,000 dollars for medical expenses and pain and suffering damages.
These types of accidents are much more common than we imagine and can result in serious physical and emotional trauma. This pain and suffering can seriously influence your quality of life and your ability to work. To make sure that you receive the benefits you’re owed keep our number 1-800-INJURED (1-800-465-8733) in your phone to make sure that you can get in touch with local personal injury lawyers without having to do legal research from a hospital bed.
Category: Slip And Fall