Client Fractured Kneecap After Slipping on Painted Surface
The Champion Firm is Hired Shortly Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
In early 2016, we received a call from a potential client about a slip and fall case. Approximately two years earlier, she had fallen at a hotel when she slipped on a coated area of a parking lot that was very slippery. It had just rained but it was more slippery than a concrete parking lot should ever be, even when wet. The surface had a coating and appeared to have been painted. When the potential client slipped, she broke her kneecap. She had to undergo a major surgery to repair her knee. She was going to experience lifelong pain and limitations due to her injuries. Her total medical bills were over $32,000.
When we met with the client in the office, it was just weeks before the two-year statute of limitations would expire. If we did not act quickly and file a lawsuit, her right to seek compensation would be lost forever. The Champion Firm decided to accept the case and immediately filed a lawsuit.
The Champion Firm Uncovers Evidence of Negligence
The Champion Firm served discovery on the defendants when they were served with the lawsuit. The discovery asked about the coating that was on the sidewalk, reports of problems from customers and workers, and information about other injuries. At first, the hotel produced very little information. It did not seem like we were getting the full story. As a result, we continued to demand more information. We sent multiple follow-up letters asking them to do a more thorough search for information, and we sent additional discovery asking for more evidence.
As we continued to press forward, the case started to come together. We took depositions of multiple current and former employees. Based on the evidence produced by the hotel and the information learned in depositions, we were able to show that the sidewalk did not have the proper coating. The hotel had painted it without ensuring it had the proper mixture of materials to keep it from becoming slippery. To make matters worse, the hotel knew it was slippery. Multiple guests and employees had reported that it was a problem. Other people had even fallen. But instead of actually fixing it and resurfacing it, the hotel bought a cheap carpeted runner at a local hardware store and rolled that out onto the large walking area. It was not close to large enough to cover the entire area, and there was no warning to customers altering them that the walking surface was extra slippery and there was nothing instructing them to walk on the narrow carpeted runner.
The Champion Firms Obtains a Significant Settlement for Its Client
The parties attended a mediation after some initial depositions and discovery was conducted. The hotel’s highest offer at the mediation was not a fair offer for our client’s serious, permanent injury, so we advised her not to accept it. The parties left the mediation and The Champion Firm continued to go forward preparing the case for trial. After additional depositions uncovered more evidence of negligence, the hotel agreed to settle the case for $350,000.
This case highlights the importance of hiring a personal injury attorney if you have been injured. Our client did not know if she had a case so she did nothing for nearly two years to consult with a lawyer. If she had not consulted us, the time to file a lawsuit would have passed and she would have gotten nothing. The case also demonstrates the importance of hiring a law firm that prepares every case thoroughly. Because we continued digging, we were able to find evidence that led to a favorable settlement for our client.