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.