This article focuses on claims for a Florida slip and fall accident that caused a herniated disc. I have written other articles on:
- Florida car accident herniated disc claims.
- How to a calculate a herniated disc claim value for a Florida case.
The cases in this article are not mine unless I say that they are.
Shopper Wins $12,000 against Target for Herniation Disc and Other Injuries
See a $12,000 judgment where a shopper claimed that she slipped on a puddle of liquid inside a Target store in West Kendall, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
She also claimed that the fall caused her patella fracture, and surgery on her torn meniscus.
Actual Case: $250,000 verdict for the pain and suffering component 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. Her doctor said that she would need surgery for the herniated disc.
A passenger slipped and fell on a Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas’ gangway/walkway when it was raining. Part of the pain and suffering component was likely also for her shoulder tear.
The case is Daniel v. Royal Caribbean Cruises. The verdict was in 2008.
Royal Caribbean’s biggest competitor is Carnival Cruise Lines. Learn about slip and fall injury claims with Carnival Cruise Lines.
Actual Case: In Ramey v. Winn Dixie Montgomery, Inc., 710 So.2d 191, 192-93 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998), Tim Ramey, sued Winn Dixie Montgomery, Inc. (Winn Dixie). The District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District issued an opinion on April 29, 1998.
The 1rst District has jurisdiction over thirty-two counties: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington.
Thus, this incident likely happened at a Winn Dixie store in one of the above counties. The shopper sued for recovery of damages for back injuries. He claimed that he slipped on melted butter at a Winn Dixie store.
Both doctors testified that he suffered a herniated disc in the fall. They jury awarded Ramey the amount of medical bills incurred, together with $6,000.00 for past pain and suffering, and zero damages for future medical care, and non-economic damages.
An appeals court ordered a new trial because no money was awarded for future pain and suffering and future medical treatment.
Learn more about Florida slip and fall injury claims against Winn Dixie Supermarkets.
Example – How Much Your Herniated Disc Slip and Fall Case May Be Worth
You are 40 years old. You are shopping at a store or in a business facility. It could be a place like Walmart, Target, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Home Depot, Walgreens, McDonald’s or any store or business in Homestead, Florida or any city in Florida.
You trip and fall over a mat or rug that is under the soda machine. The mat or rug was tilted up and it should have been secured to the floor.
To keep it simple, let’s say that you may be 40% at fault for not looking where you were walking. You have neck pain at the time of the accident and you report the incident to a store employee.
You treat with an orthopedic doctor for 5 months or so for your neck pain and then he says that you will just have to live with the pain. You have an MRI and it shows that you have a herniated disc. You can basically do all the activities that you could before the accident.
You owe $5,000 in medical bills and you lost $1,000 from not being able to work after the accident. A few years before this accident, you had a few complaints of neck pain to doctors but you never had an MRI.
Because you had some complaints of neck pain to doctors before the accident, and you are 40 years old, let’s assume that a jury may believe that only 75% of your current neck issues are related to this accident.
The rest of your neck problems existed before this trip and fall. To calculate the possible settlement value for the case described in Example #2, you use the formula:
Possible Settlement = (Medical Bills Owed + Lost Wages + “Full Value” Pain and Suffering) X (% of injury related to accident) X (% of fault on supermarket)
Possible Settlement = ($6,000 + $1,000 + $25,000) X (.75) X (.6)
Possible Settlement = ($32,000) x (.75) x (.6)
Possible Settlement = $14,400
Herniated Disc Cases against Publix Supermarkets in Florida
Publix has 759 stores in Florida. See some past verdicts where a shoppers claimed that Florida Publix Supermarkets’ carelessness caused their herniated disc in a slip, trip and fall.
What Types of Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents Can Cause a Herniated Disc?
Accidents or Incident Occurring at an Apartment, Condominium, Townhouse or House
You may have a case if you herniated a disc because you:
Slip and Falls from water that is leaking from the ceiling or roof.
You may Slipped and fell on water that was leaking from the ceiling or roof and you were renting an apartment, townhouse or condominium. If you have a herniated disc from this happening, then you may have a case against your landlord.
If you complained to your landlord, before your slip and fall, about the leaking ceiling and they did not repair it, then this helps your case. Your case is stronger if you sent this complaint to the landlord in writing, particularly email with delivery and read receipt, fax or certified mail return receipt.
The more times that you complained to your landlord or the apartment complex management company, then the better it is for your case.
Even if the landlord did not repair the leaking ceiling or roof, you may still be at fault because you knew that there was an issue that was causing water to be on the floor. Even if you did not see water before you fell, you knew that it was a problem.
The more times that you walked in the area where the water was on the floor, then the less your case is worth because the landlord or apartment complex owner/manager has a stronger argument that you were so aware of this dangerous condition that you should not have walked in that area.
Slip and fall while walking on a dangerous staircase
If you herniated a disc from a slip and fell while walking down the steps (stairs) in an apartment complex, condominium or townhouse, you may have a case if one of the things below caused your injury. You must show that the staircase was a dangerous condition.
– You can do this is the wrong paint substance was used and the stairs were too slippery.
– The staircase did not have a handrail and it should have had one.
– The staircase had a broken handle or the wrong type of handle.
– One of the steps was chipped.
– There step that you fell on did not have anti-slip stair tread (traction tape). This generally applies to commercial properties (private businesses). I don’t believe that anti-slip tread is required in homes.
– The height of some of the steps were of different proportions.
Tripped and fell over a loose (unsecured) paver.
Tripped on a loose paver and fell. You need to show that the apartment complex or landlord knew or should have known that the paver was loose before you fell. Your testimony may be enough to prove your case. It may also help if you can get a witness to sign an affidavit (sworn statement) if they observed the loose paver before you fell.
Slipped and fell on water that blew in through the front door.
Water blew in through the front door and caused you to slip. Your case is stronger if you complained to the apartment complex management or landlord before you fell and they did not fix this before you fell.
Trip and fall in a covered hole in the grass
I wrote a lengthy article about how to know whether you have a case if you trip and fall in a hole in the grass.
Herniate a disc from an injury at a clothing store like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls
If you are a diagnosed from a herniated disc at one of these clothing stores, it most likely was because you slipped and fell or tripped and fell over clothing. In Florida, you have to prove that the store knew or should have known that the clothing or item that caused you to fall and herniate a disc was on the floor before you fell.
These stores have surveillance and hopefully surveillance shows that there was no one for 15-20 minutes in the area where you fell. You can then argue that the item was on the floor for 15-20 minutes before you fell.
At Banks like Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.
If you tripped and fell on a staircase that had a chipped tile, you may have a good case. This is because it is easy to argue that the bank should have known that the tile was chipped.
Chipped, cracked or broken tile doesn’t generally does not happen 15 minutes before an accident. But the bank or its insurance company will argue that you should have been looking where you were walking.
On an airplane
If you suffered a herniated disc while on an airplane that was at a gate in Florida, departed or arrived in Florida, in was most likely on American Airlines, United Airways, Delta, US Airways and Southwest. Most of these cases are because:
- a flight attendant pushes a cart into you and you fall
- flight attendant drops a bag from an overhead cabin that hits you.
- slip and fall claims against airlines in Florida
You are Intoxicated, “Buzzed” or Drunk.
If you were drinking before the accident or incident, this may decrease the value of your injury case. Below is an example.
How Drinking Alcohol before Your Fall May Affect Your Herniated Disc Slip and Fall Case
Let’s assume that you have 6 beers or so in the 4 hours. You are getting up from a table in the outdoor part of the restaurant and you trip and fall over a curb that you didn’t see because it was painted the same color as the floor.
Many slip and falls should be evaluated by automatically placing 50% of the fault on the claimant for not looking where he or she was walking.
However, there are some situations where the claims adjuster may place little or no fault on you, such as if you were walking in the grass and stepped in a hole covered with grass overgrowth. Another situation where you may have no or little fault is if you trip and fall on a little change in elevation (a little step) is an optical illusion because it is all the same color.
Since you admit that you had drunk a large amount of alcohol before you tripped and fell, we can assume that a jury may find you an additional 50% to 75% at fault for drinking so much alcohol before your incident and being “buzzed”, intoxicated or drunk.
For the example, below to keep things simple we’ll assume that you were 60% at fault for being intoxicated to the point that it may have caused you to trip and fall.
Now back to the example. Let’s calculate the possible (no guarantee) value of your case, whether in an out of court settlement or during litigation or trial. We’ll assume that your medical bills are $10,000 and your lost wages are $500. Let’s assume that your herniated disc has left you with a big resultant disability, and the possible settlement value of the pain and suffering component is $50,000.
Now I’m going to add the above numbers to the settlement formula below.
Settlement = (Medical Bills + Lost Wages + Pain & Suffering) x (1 – Your % of General Fault) x (1- % of Your Fault for Drinking)
Settlement = ($10,000 + $500 + $50,000) x (.5) x (.5)
Settlement = ($65,000) x (.5) x (.5)
Possible Settlement = $16,250
Now, if you take the exact same facts but you were not drinking, perhaps the possible settlement could be double this amount. Once again, as you can see, if you change just 1 fact in a personal injury case it completely change the possible settlement value of a claim.
That’s one of the reasons why when I get an instant chat, completed contact form, or phone call from a prospective client and I am asked “How much is my case worth?” my response is usually something like:
“Each case is different and I cannot state exactly what each claim may be worth. This initial consultation is to see if it is something this firm can assist with, if so then I can answer further questions at that time.”
To best estimate the settlement value, there are many questions that need to be answered in any personal injury case. I know of very few attorneys who will tell a prospective client how much their case is worth without extensively reviewing the case in detail, which includes looking at the medical bills.
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