Big Lots Store’s negligence may cause you to slip or trip and fall, and get hurt. If this happens, you may be entitled to recover damages.
This article focuses on slip, trip and fall accidents at Big Lots stores in Florida. Let’s take a look an actual case.
Shoppers Wins Case for Trip and Fall Over Display at Big Lots
This isn’t my case. Gloria De Diaz tripped over part of a display at Big Lots and fell on her left knee. X-rays revealed no fractures, but did show some early signs of arthritis.
A couple of months later, De Diaz saw an orthopedist and had an MRI. The MRI showed a small tear, and some fluid buildup.
Only therapy was prescribed. The following year, De Diaz went to another doctor for a second opinion.
The doctor said that De Diaz had some degenerative arthritis in her knee and an injury to the meniscus, and recommended arthroscopic surgery.
De Diaz had the surgery.
Gloria Sues Big Lots
In December, 2003, De Diaz filed a personal injury lawsuit against Big Lots.
Big Lots argued that her injuries were from pre-existing arthritis and/or intervening causes. An intervening cause is an event that occurs after a tortfeasor’s initial act of negligence and causes injury/harm to a victim.
Three years later, De Diaz added her husband’s loss of consortium claim to the lawsuit.
Jury Awards her Compensation
Following trial, the jury found in De Diaz’s favor and awarded her past medical expenses and damages for past pain and suffering.
The jury did not award damages for future pain and suffering or for future medicals even though there was evidence of the need for future medical treatment.
The jury also did not award any damages to the husband for loss of past or future consortium.
Appeals Court Says She Should’ve Been Awarded Future Medical Bills and Future Pain and Suffering
The appeals court ordered a new trial because it felt that she was entitled to be awarded money for future medical expenses and future pain and suffering.
Appeals Court Says Husband Should Have Been Awarded Loss of Consortium
The appeals court find that undisputed evidence was presented on Mr. Diaz’s loss of consortium claim to require an award of at least nominal damages. Nominal means very small.
One Judge Says No Future Compensation Should Be Given
One of the judges wrote a dissent. A dissent is a minority opinion written by one or more judges expressing disagreement with the majority opinion of the court.
The dissenting judge said he thought the original trial verdict should be reinstated. Essentially, he disagreed with a new trial. He did not want future damages to be awarded in this case.
His opinion doesn’t count because he wasn’t part of the majority opinion.
Big Lots Stores, Inc. v. de Diaz, 18 So.3d 1065, 1068 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009) is an appeal of a lawsuit. It was in the Third District Court of Appeal, located in Miami, which encompasses Dade and Monroe Counties.
Big Lots Stores, Inc. was represented by Coral Gables, Florida. Miami lawyers represented Gloria Maria de Diaz and Jose Diaz.
This is not my case. However, I have settled many Florida slip and fall cases.
Slip, Trip and Fall cases against Big Lots are Difficult
This judge’s dissenting opinion shows that judges can disagree on big issues that affect compensation, like whether future damages and loss of consortium should be awarded. This is one reason why people call going to trial, “rolling the dice”.
There is no guarantee that you will get awarded future pain and suffering or future medical expenses damages.
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