While the following story didn’t occur here in Visalia or even in the state of California, it does represent an interesting legal point of view regarding slip and fall incidents. This story is from Palm Beach County, Florida, and it occurred on a bus.
A woman was trying to sit down before the bus started moving again, but the bus driver started to accelerate. The woman fell as a result of the driver’s decision. The floor on the bus was also wet, contributing to the incident. The woman suffered a back injury and a cut on her knee from hitting a metal seat. The bus driver worked for Palm Tran, the county’s public transportation company.
The woman sued Palm Tran for the incident, claiming that they should train all drivers to make sure that every passenger is safely seated before accelerating. A jury agreed that Palm Tran was partially responsible for the incident, but also left some of the blame to the woman as well. The jury awarded nearly $870,000 in the case, with Palm Tran responsible for 55 percent of it. Immunity caps prevent the damages paid out from exceeding $200,000 to a plaintiff, though.
There is a lot to learn from this story. Obviously, slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere and under a wide variety of circumstances. This story also exemplifies how injuries from a slip and fall can be debilitating and brutal, something we touched on a couple of weeks ago. And last but not least, it is important to note that premises liability lawsuits aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of slip and fall incidents. Compensation caps prevent plaintiffs from raking in huge amounts of money, so don’t think of these lawsuits as “cash cows.” They are simply an opportunity to hold the negligent party responsible and secure some needed finances for your recovery.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Jury awards $478K to woman injured in Palm Tran bus fall,” Skyler Swisher, Oct. 17, 2016