Slip & Falls: How Property Owners Leave You to Clean Up Their Mess

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At Torgenson Law, one of the many services we offer our clients is legal assistance in slip and fall cases. Also known as a “trip and fall,” these types of cases arise when an individual falls on another person’s property, resulting in an injury or even death, due to the property owner’s negligence. These injured individuals are entitled to compensation. But these cases are intricate and difficult, so proving fault poses a significant challenge. The complications that arise during slip and fall cases can be demonstrated by Valerie Dantzler’s fall in a Jacksonville, Florida Wal-Mart store in 2005.

Two weeks prior to her slip and fall at Wal-Mart, Ms. Dantzler had surgery on her shoulder. She reported no pain or problems with her shoulder between her surgery and the fall; she was well on her way to a full and complete recovery. On the day of her fall, Ms. Dantzler had spent over an hour shopping at the Jacksonville Wal-Mart store. During checkout, there was  a price discrepancy for one of the products she was purchasing. Upon going back into this aisle to retrieve the correct pricing, Ms. Dantzler tragically slipped on an unmarked wet spot and fell. The fall was utterly detrimental to her shoulder’s overall recovery, causing irreparable nerve damage, meaning she would spend the rest of her life with permanent shoulder pain.

At the time of the fall, Wal-Mart employees assured Ms. Dantzler that there had been safety sweeps conducted throughout the store. Additionally, the security footage of the incident was mysteriously erased from the Wal-Mart store’s records. It had been rumored that the store destroyed this piece of evidence in hopes of avoiding a long, drawn-out lawsuit. This further complicated personal injury case because proving that the business had notice of the wet floor was vital to Ms. Dantzler’s slip and fall lawsuit.

As Ms. Dantzler continued to experience intense shoulder pains after the fall, her case was brought to trial. The state of Florida practices what is called comparative negligence, meaning that they also account for the plaintiff’s liability in negligence-based claims like this, which can reduce your overall compensation. However, in this case the jury ruled in Ms. Dantzler’s favor, concurring that she was only 20% at fault for the fall, leaving the remaining negligence 80% of Wal-Mart’s. The case resulted in a grand total of $1,000,000 verdict, granting Ms. Dantzler $800,000 in compensation. This included compensation for the projected costs of past and future wage loss as well as past and future pain and suffering.

While Ms. Dantzler’s case resulted in a large compensation, it is extremely difficult to prove fault in cases like these. These cases require intensive investigations to show that the business had notice of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy an/or warn its customers of that condition. However, here at Torgenson Law, we have seasoned attorneys with experience representing clients in slip and fall cases, ready and willing to do everything it takes to help you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured due to an act of negligence on someone else’s property, do not hesitate to contact an Arizona injury lawyer. Please contact us at (602) 759-0012 to find out how we can help you with your personal injury claim.