Actual Case: $250,000 verdict for pain and suffering alone for 3 herniated discs (T9-10, T11-12, and L4-5) that were claimed to be from a shopper’s slip and fall at JC Penney department store. L4-L5 is in the lower back. This isn’t my case.
Her doctor said that she would need surgery for the herniated disc. The orthopedic surgeon hired by JC Penney said that the Plaintiff did not have any disc herniations.
The jury found JC Penney 100% responsible for causing the accident. The total verdict was for $824,200. The verdict was in 2012 in Palm Beach County, Florida. The case is Collier vs. J.C. Penney. The picture above is not the woman from the actual case. Plaintiff’s attorney allegedly asked for $160,000 from JC Penney.
My thoughts: The jury basically awarded $83,333 for the pain and suffering component of each herniated disc. It seems to me that JC Penney did not settle the case with the shopper for the $160,000 that her attorney asked for one – or more – of a few reasons. Maybe JC Penney felt that it was not liable for the woman’s fall.
A shopper still needs to prove that JC Penney knew or should have known that there was a substance on the floor that caused the shopper’s fall. In this case, the shopper was apparently able to prove that the JC Penney store knew or should have known that a substance was on the floor before the woman’s fall.
The jury did not blame the shopper for the fall. This is unusual in a slip and fall case. Normally, the jury finds that the shopper was a certain percent at fault. If the jury had found that the shopper was at fault, the judgment would have been reduced by her percentage in fault. In Florida, even if the shopper would have been 51% at fault, she could still recover 49% of her damages.
This case shows that orthopedic doctors often disagree as to whether a Plaintiff has a herniated disc. Just because your doctor tells you that you have a herniated disc does not mean that the liability claims adjuster from JC Penney – or another department store or company – will agree with your doctor.
You can check out some other herniated disc settlements or verdicts. Some are mine and some are those of other attorneys. One of the herniated discs in this case was to the woman’s lower back. You can learn more about other lower back injury settlements. You can also see some of my slip and fall injury settlements.
What do you think about this verdict? Please share your thoughts below.