31 Dec 2013
The Green Liquid and the White Floor
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
In 2004, our client, who had worked all his life as a successful machinist in New York, was shopping at Walmart in Tampa. As he approached the check-out lines and began to round the end-cap to enter the cash register lane, he slipped and fell in a puddle of green liquid on an otherwise pristine white floor. The resulting injury from his fall was a debilitating disc herniation at the T8 & T9 level.
Our client was unable to go back to work in his previous role as a machinist and suffered through therapy after therapy trying to rehabilitate his injury. Meanwhile, the store where the injury occurred began taking strategic defense tactics right out of the gate. They denied any responsibility of negligence. As America’s #1 retailer they clearly have hundreds of visible cameras in every store, yet they stated they could not produce a video.
Many times, stores and insurance companies do not value a case without a broken bone or surgery. Ultimately, this is exactly what they did and Walmart did not offer our client suitable compensation for the type of life change he experienced. When a fellow prominent workers’ compensation attorney realized that Walmart was devaluing the case, he referred it to us.
The injury our client sustained is particularly painful and catastrophic because the location of the damaged discs is dangerously close to the Adamkiewicz artery. To avoid the risk of fatal bleeding, the surgeons have to cut through the side, removing ribs as well as remove his heart and lungs. Needless to say, this is an incredibly complex and risky procedure that many doctors refuse to perform. My team and I identified this immediately and knew the insurance company was extremely undervaluing the injury and medical treatment needed—putting our client in substantial financial and physical risk.
We investigated every inch of the accident scene. We interviewed witnesses and employees. We conducted an in-depth financial analysis of my client’s projected wages and developed a total lost wages based on his future earning potential. And most importantly we anticipated every one of the insurance company’s arguments and discounted them before they could have impact. I had defended stories like theirs in the past so I knew just where they wanted to attack us. It was our knowledge of the condition and it’s ramification as well our persistence in proving that even though it was a green liquid on a white floor, it’s location obscured it from our clients view.
The result was a judgment against Walmart on behalf of our client for $789,843.64.
This case represented a prime example of my team’s immediate expertise both in understanding the complex premises liability/slip and fall laws as well as our intense medical knowledge pertaining to what makes some back injuries more catastrophic (and costly) than others.
This expertise drove us to advise our client not to take the insurance company’s original offer, subsequently filing suit and preparing for the successful fight. Thanks to our discipline and diligence, the mysterious green liquid paid off in a significant green settlement for our client and his family.