In November of 2012, two young women entered Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen located on Lee Street in Fulton County.
As their order would take a moment to prepare, the two women stepped back from the counter to wait for their order to be called. When it was, one of the women, plaintiff Christian Miller, stepped forward to pick it up, stepping on a wet mat. Upon stepping on the mat, it slid beneath her and Christian found herself on the floor and in pain. She suffered a concussion, neck injury and a tear in the rotator cuff which became a full thickness tear.
The woman filed a slip and fall lawsuit against the establishment, which she won and was awarded $400,000 for the injuries she endured when slipped. Her medical bills alone totaled more than $96,000. Below we will discuss why this case won.
Elements Of Negligence In A Slip And Fall
There are five factors in a negligence case , which were present in the case outlined above:
- Duty – did the defendant have a duty to the individual who was harmed to keep them safe? In this instance Popeyes had a duty to exercise due care in keeping their space clean and safe for the public.
- Breach of Duty – the defendant must have acted or failed to act in such a way as breached the duty that they had to keep the individual safe. Popeyes, in this example, did not exercise due care toward keeping their customers safe by leaving the saturated floor mat in the public walkway.
- Cause of Fact – the breach of duty of the defendant must have caused the injury to the plaintiff. The plaintiff
slipped and fell on the wet floor mat that had been left by Popeyes and suffered terrible injuries as a direct result.
- Proximate Cause – was the fault of the defendant mitigated by some fault of the plaintiff? The plaintiff had no way of knowing or suspecting that the mat would be wet and did not act in an unsafe manner when stepping forward to receive her food.
- Damage – was the plaintiff harmed by the breach of duty? The plaintiff suffered severe injuries including concussion, neck injury, rotator cuff injury and the inability to obtain a job she had applied for, all as a direct result of the injury.
As all of these factors were found in this case, the plaintiff was able to win the lawsuit. It’s important to note that ‘damage’ to the plaintiff does not have to be physical. It can also be mental, emotional or any other. The requirement is that this damage must have been directly caused by the breach of duty on the part of the defendant.
What Is Accounted For In Damages?
When considering the amount of damages or remedy that is to be provided on behalf of the plaintiff, there are several factors taken into consideration:
- Mental Suffering – if the individual is faced with permanent disfigurement or if the incident left them with other types of mental harm.
- Medical Expenses – These can be past (such as emergency surgery or care) or future (if the injury will have long-reaching effects.
- Household Assistance – if the individual will need help taking care of their house, children or pets that was not previously needed.
- Loss of Consortium – the loss of the ‘benefits’ of married life which can include companionship, comfort or even sexual relations.
- Loss of Day-to-Day Enjoyment – if the individual is no longer capable of enjoying normal life.
- Lost Wages or Earning Capacity – if the individual is no longer able to work or had to miss work as a result of the injury.
- Pain and Suffering – if the individual suffers from continued pain or even suffered previously at any point after the injury and as a result of the injury.
If you are the victim of a slip and fall in a restaurant or anywhere else, you may be eligible for damages to help alleviate your suffering. It is always wise to seek both medical and legal help in these circumstances.