Slipping on an Apple
Most people think of the banana as the fruit most likely to cause someone to slip. Perhaps banana peels really do cause falls due to their slickness.
But what if you fall while working for Apple?
That happened to my client, C, when she was working at a suburban Apple store. In addition to her job as a Technical Specialist there, she also performed administrative duties in a school district office, and took care of her aging parents. She was a busy woman.
One evening, the cleaning crew mopped the floor without providing any notice it was doing so or putting up signs to warn the employees still in the store. C slipped on the wet floor and hurt multiple body parts. She fell on her right side, injuring her right (dominant) wrist and shoulder. She also injured her knee, although it was hard for doctors to determine what damage was related to the degenerative aging process and what was related to the fall. Her lower back and left leg also were hurt. To further complicate matters, the fact that her jobs required repetitive use of her hands made diagnosing her injuries difficult, as she had some signs of early carpal tunnel syndrome.
Whom Did She Sue?
That may sound like a riddle, but the correct answer is “no one.” The general rule for injuries that occur while working is that the sole remedy comes from workers’ compensation. Negligence law is not available to sue the employer in this situation.
What about the cleaning crew, you ask? The cleaning crew created the conditions that caused the injury, and they were not C’s employer. Why not sue them?
For a variety of reasons, a decision was made to focus solely on the workers’ compensation case. First of all, in a negligence case against the cleaning crew, C would have had to prove negligence, showing that the crew knew, or reasonably should have known, that it had created a dangerous condition yet failed to warn people appropriately.
Second, there is a complex system of reimbursements and credits for amounts paid by workers’ comp in the event that an injured person recovers damages in a negligence case. Suffice it to say that, without catastrophic injuries suffered by C, most of what she might have recovered on the negligence case would have been eaten up by the workers’ compensation lien.
So, in the long run, a decision was made to pursue the “no fault” workers’ compensation case, which is technically not a lawsuit and is not considered within the court system. The goal was to get the maximum recovery for C with the least amount of stress and disruption to her life. That meant making a reasoned decision not to file a lawsuit against the cleaning crew.
How Did Settlement Work?
When C was released from her doctors after months of rehab and treatment, with her injuries healed as well as possible without surgery, I began obtaining all her medical records and bills by subpoena. I then made a written demand for settlement to the opposing lawyer for Apple.
As is typical in these cases, we negotiated back and forth until reaching a point where C was satisfied.
Then, I continued negotiating until we maxed out every dollar possible, so that C could walk away with over $55,000 free of any income taxes after deducting attorney’s fees and costs.
As is often the case, C came to me after having hired a different lawyer, with whom she was dissatisfied. Once I earned her trust, she decided to hire me and fire the prior lawyer. Also, as is often the case, the way C came to me was through not one, but two separate lawyers who are colleagues of mine. Because I have earned their trust over the years, I was able to help C, as well as share a portion of the fees earned with my colleagues.
No one wants to fall on a wet floor and get hurt. People just want to live their lives and do their jobs, but sometimes injuries happen. Although she would have preferred not to be injured in the first place, at least C was fairly compensated. She is now recovered and working again, but the financial recovery in her case gave her the breathing room she needed to make a physical recovery.
Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman
As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, if you have been hit by a vehicle, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has over 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything up front, and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day; contact Stephen now.