by Scott Blumenshine
Edythe Burnette, was catastrophically injured when she tripped on a rug at the entrance of a Jewel Food Store in Chicago. Her lawyers helped her receive a $6 million settlement from the food store chain. As she fell, Mrs. Burnette, snapped her neck on the nearby handrail. The accident left Burnette an incomplete quadriplegic. She is confined to a wheelchair and, although she can feed herself and brush her teeth, she has limited use of her arms.
At the time of the injury, Mrs. Burnette was employed as an elementary school teacher and her husband was employed as an oil broker. Due to the severity of her injury, Mrs. Burnette will never be able to return to work. Mr. Burnette gave up his employment to provide his wife the 24-hour care she requires.
Since neither spouse could work, the couple lost their home in foreclosure and had to stay with relatives. They spent years in litigation before Jewel made the settlement agreement.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2012, shortly after Mrs. Burnette’s incident. She alleged she tripped on a curled-up rug in the vestibule of the store. Two independent witnesses testified that they saw the rug curled up. A police officer and paramedic said they saw the rug, but did not see it curled up. Ultimately, Jewel agreed to the settlement, but did not admit that it was at fault for the fall. Although the agreement was entered in March 2016, the Burnette’s did not receive their first payment until months later.
The settlement will allow the Burnette’s to buy a new home that can accommodate Mrs. Burnette’s needs. They also expect to buy a van so that Mr. Burnette can drive his wife around.
Slip and fall accidents have been used in slapstick comedy since silent movie days of the early 20th Century, but they are no laughing matter. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), more than one million people are treated every year in emergency rooms due to their slip and fall accident. Approximately 800,000 are hospitalized due to their injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one out of five falls results in a serious injury. Most commonly, this means broken bones or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Falls are the most common cause of all TBIs.
As the Brain Injury Society (BIS) so aptly puts it, sometimes, people slip and fall and the only thing they hurt is their pride. Other times, a slip and fall accident, as occurred with Mrs. Burnette when her neck snapped, changes a person’s life forever. In fact, 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries are caused by a slip, trip and fall accident. Many of those injuries are permanent, resulting in the need for lifelong care.
Other common injuries due to a slip and fall accident include:
These are just examples. There is no limit to the type of injuries a person can sustain a result of a trip and fall accident.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, our slip and fall attorneys at Meyer & Blumenshine may be able to help you. If another party’s negligence caused your fall, you are legally entitled to collect for your damages including, but not limited to:
At times, as in the Burnette case, even if the responsible party refuses to publicly admit fault, an attorney may still be able to negotiate a favorable settlement. The law requires you to bring your claim for compensation within a certain period after the incident, so contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.