Our client, a healthy and fit gentleman in his 70s was visiting a popular Orlando attraction with his family. He had been visiting from out of town and wanted to take his grandson to the big Ferris wheel on International Drive. He entered the building where the attraction is located and was walking through a large room behind his adult daughter and his wife. The gentleman’s view was obstructed and he could not see that directly in his path was a post (also called a stanchion) that stood waist-high. The post was part of a dismantled turnstile that the attraction no longer used. It was left bolted to the floor approximately three feet from the wall and in the middle of the walkway. As the person in front of him moved around the post, our client walked right into it because he did not have time to see it.
The top of the metal post hit the gentleman directly into his abdomen causing blunt force trauma to his internal organs. His abdominal cavity began filling with blood, although he did not know it immediately. He was in extreme pain but hoped it would pass. When he realized that the pain was only intensifying, his family drove him to the hospital. The surgeons at the hospital performed emergency exploratory surgery to identify the source of the blood, which was quickly escaping through a tear in his intestines. The doctors found the ripped tissue and closed it up. The client was left with a long scar from the surgery.
Our client had come to us with this case after a different personal injury attorney had unsuccessfully attempted to settle the claim in pre-suit. LOU LAW’s attorney immediately filed the lawsuit and began litigating the case. Several depositions of witnesses were taken and other discovery was requested from the Defendant corporation. The case was referred to mediation where the parties negotiated a settlement of the case.
The biggest challenge, in this case, was that it was being litigated during the initial months of the worldwide pandemic. Both sides had to adjust to working from home and were challenged with having access to their clients. Our client returned to his home country to quarantine and the corporate Defendant’s representatives were not in the office on a daily basis. Things took a little longer than usual but eventually, everyone got the hang of the new state of the world.
Another challenge, in this case, was the potential that the jury would find the client equally liable for his injuries because he was not looking where he was going. In many similar cases such as slip and falls or trip and fall personal injury lawsuits, the jury tends to assign some percentage of fault to the plaintiff. Therefore, it was important to recognize that even if the injury here was great, the jury verdict may be cut by as much as 50% if the jury found him comparatively negligent.
The case settled at mediation for an amount that was well over the high medical bills that the client incurred and covered both his expenses and pain and suffering.
The case closed in approximately 9 months.
Throughout this case, our personal injury attorney kept a good relationship with the defendant’s attorney. Cordial and courteous relationships between opposing attorneys are key to resolving highly contentious cases, like this one. The lesson learned in this case was simple: work hard and be nice to people. Our client certainly benefited from our attorney’s professionalism with a relatively fast and substantial recovery.