A fall can be particularly harmful to a person the older they are. According to the National Council on Aging, fall injuries are the leading cause of fatal injury and most common cause of nonfatal traumatic injuries in seniors. Not to mention, falls in older adults are somewhat common, as 25% of Americans aged over 65 will suffer a fall each year. In 2013, the financial cost of fall injuries was close to $34 billion and is expected
Georgia recently saw the conclusion of a lengthy case involving a slip and fall incident in a popular grocery chain. The case revolved around an incident involving one elderly man’s injury after he fell due to a slip in a puddle in the produce section of a local grocery chain. The verdict ended up being a historically large verdict within the county.
The case involved one Freeman Lomax, who was shopping at a local Kroger in Lithia Springs, Georgia. Lomax, who was 75 at the time of his injury, slipped in a puddle left in the produce section. His injuries required him to undergo surgery for a torn rotator cuff. He also displayed symptoms of a concussion, and even after the trial displays a loss of arm mobility. In addition to the injury claim filed, Lomax’s wife filed a related claim for loss of consortium, as she was undergoing chemotherapy at the time of the injury.
The case was originally not set for trial, however, Kroger offered meager settlement options to the plaintiffs. The initial claim for a settlement was rejected by Kroger, who counter-offered with even lower numbers. Eventually, the case went to trial, where the plaintiffs were successful. The jury awarded a final verdict of $500,000 in damages for Lomax and $200,000 for his wife. Although the attorney representing the case had initially asked for $400,000, one of the jurors had also suffered a torn rotator cuff and urged the jury to propose a higher verdict.
The turning point of the case arose when video evidence was shown as testimony. Kroger had initially made the claim that the area with the spill was inspected earlier in the day. In fact, the video evidence showed that the store employee was instead bagging groceries during the time it was reported that they were scheduled to be inspecting and cleaning up the area for a spill.
This was powerful evidence for the jury, who responded accordingly. An attorney representing Kroger has stated that the company will move forward for appeal and other post-trial motions, to dispute claims of attempting to cover up evidence of the spill.