Supermarket Pays $6 Million Dollars to Paralyzed Shopper

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Edythe Burnette was catastrophically injured when she tripped on a rug at the entrance of a Jewel Food Store in Chicago. Her lawyers helped her receive a $6 million settlement from the food store chain. As she fell, Mrs. Burnette snapped her neck on the nearby handrail. The accident left Burnette an incomplete quadriplegic. She is confined to a wheelchair, and although she can feed herself and brush her teeth, she has limited use of her arms.

At the time of the injury, Mrs. Burnette was employed as an elementary school teacher, and her husband was employed as an oil broker. Due to the severity of her injury, Mrs. Burnette will never be able to return to work. Mr. Burnette gave up his employment to provide his wife with the 24-hour care she requires.

Since neither spouse could work, the couple lost their home in foreclosure and had to stay with relatives. They spent years in litigation before Jewel made the settlement agreement.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2012, shortly after Mrs. Burnette’s incident. She alleged she tripped on a curled-up rug in the store's vestibule. Two independent witnesses testified that they saw the rug curled up. A police officer and paramedic said they saw the rug but did not see it curled up. Ultimately, Jewel agreed to the settlement but did not admit that it was at fault for the fall. Although the agreement was entered in March 2016, the Burnette’s did not receive their first payment until months later.

The settlement will allow the Burnette’s to buy a new home that can accommodate Mrs. Burnette’s needs. They also expect to buy a van so Mr. Burnette can drive his wife around.[thrive_custom_phone phone_text="" mobile_phone_text="Call For Free Consultation" phone_no="(312) 766-1000" color="blue"]

Slip and Fall Statistics

Slip and fall accidents have been used in slapstick comedy since the silent movie days of the early 20th Century, but they are no laughing matter. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), more than one million people are treated yearly in emergency rooms due to slip and fall accidents. Approximately 800,000 are hospitalized due to their injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one out of five falls results in a severe injury. Most commonly, this means broken bones or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Falls are the most common cause of all TBIs.

As the Brain Injury Society (BIS) so aptly puts it, sometimes, people slip and fall, and their pride is the only thing they hurt. Other times, a slip and fall accident, as occurred with Mrs. Burnette when her neck snapped, changes a person’s life forever. In fact, 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries are caused by a slip, trip, or fall accident. Many of those injuries are permanent, resulting in the need for lifelong care.

Other common injuries due to fall-down accidents include:

  • Fractures: The wrist is often broken when someone reaches out to grab a railing to stop the fall. Older people often break a hip when they fall to one side.
  • Shoulder injuries: This includes sprains, strains, and damage to the rotator cuff.
  • Knee injuries: People often land on their knees as they fall forward and suffer ligament damage, dislocations, or more serious injuries.

These are just examples. There is no limit to the type of injuries a person can sustain due to a trip and fall accident.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you are injured in a fall, our slip and fall attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group may be able to help you. If another party’s negligence caused your fall, you are legally entitled to collect for your damages including, but not limited to:

  • Your past and future medical expenses.
  • Your past and future lost wages.
  • Costs for rehabilitation.
  • Your loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Your pain and suffering.

At times, as in the Burnette case, even if the responsible party refuses to publicly admit fault, an attorney may still be able to negotiate a favorable settlement. The law requires you to bring your claim for compensation within a certain period after the incident, so contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation at (312) 766-1000 or email [email protected].

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