This is not my case. A jury awarded $370,000 for the pain and suffering component of a lawsuit where a 57-year-old woman sued Home Depot.
She had a 3 level cervical (neck) fusion surgery on a herniated disc, as well as surgery on her shoulder. She was awarded $150,000 in past pain and suffering, and $220,000 in future pain and suffering.
The woman was shopping at Home Depot in Vero Beach, Florida when she went to reach for a rug display. The metal rack that was holding the rug and the rug itself allegedly came loose and fell on the shopper’s shoulder and neck.
The woman claimed that Home Depot should have had the metal rack secured.
Home Depot admitted that it was at fault for the accident but argued that the woman’s injuries were not caused by the accident. About one year after the accident, the woman had an MRI that showed impingement syndrome and degenerative disease of the acromioclavicular (shoulder) joint.
Her doctor did shoulder surgery (arthroscopic subacromial decompression surgery with acromioplasty) and open distal clavicle (collarbone) excision. The woman then had physical therapy and some injections into her shoulder.
About 5 years after the accident at Home Depot, she had an MRI that showed spondylosis at C4, C5, and C6 levels. Spondylosis describes spinal degeneration accompanied by pain, and is often used as a synonym for spinal arthritis.
The doctor also said that she had a herniated disc in her neck. The woman had a three-level (neck) cervical fusion.
The woman claimed that she had scars from this accident.
My thoughts: I do not know how much the jury awarded for the pain and suffering from the shoulder surgery vs. how much was awarded for the pain and suffering for the 3 level neck fusion.
I have said that the starting point for settlement purposes of the full value of the pain and suffering component of a rotator cuff surgery is $100,000. Find out what full settlement value of a personal injury means.
This is of course assumes that the shoulder surgery is related to the accident. In this case, I assume that Home Depot argued that the shoulder surgery was not related to the accident. In any case, there are many things that can affect how much your injury case is worth.
The woman had a MRI 5 years after the accident, which is a long time to wait to have an MRI. Generally speaking, the sooner that you have an MRI after an accident and it shows a problem, the better it is for your case. The longer you wait to have an MRI, the worse it is for your case.
If you have an MRI shortly after the accident, it is more difficult for Home Depot (or any defendant) to argue that the injuries shown on your MRI are not related to the accident.
If you wait too long to have an MRI, Home Depot may argue that if the pain were bad then you would have had an MRI sooner. Home Depot may also argue that you may have had another accident (since the original accident) that caused the positive (problems) findings on the MRI.
I think that the surgery to the woman’s clavicle was more invasive (serious) than the surgery on her shoulder because it was open surgery instead of arthroscopic surgery. Open surgery is when the doctor gets a knife and cuts you open. Arthroscopic surgery is when surgery is performed through tiny holes instead of a big cut.
The 2 biggest scars on the woman would be on her neck and on her clavicle (collarbone). This case went to trial 6 years after the accident at Home Depot.
It took so long because the attorney filed a lawsuit 3 years after the accident.
The woman was awarded $25,000 per year for the 6 years of pain and suffering before the trial/verdict. The woman was expected to live another 20 years after the verdict, so she basically was awarded $11,000 per year in future pain and suffering.
I could not find any appeals decision on this case which leads me to believe that the jury verdict was not appealed. This is not my case, though I have settled many store injury claims.
Two of Home Depots biggest competitors in Florida are Best Buy and hh gregg. HH gregg uses a third party administrator (TPA) to handle its injury claims. Its TPA is Gallagher Bassett.
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