A jury awarded a Port St. Lucie man nearly $1.3 million last Wednesday in an unusual slip-and-fall case against Wal-Mart. On May 15, 2011, 41-year-old Tom Papakalodoukas was shopping at the Wal-Mart located at 1850 S.W. Gatlin Boulevard in Port St. Lucie. As he walked down an aisle, he stepped on a Gatorade sign that had fallen from a display. Papakalodoukas fell and landed violently on his right arm, which caused the bicep tendon to tear.
In the less than two years since the fall, Papakalodoukas has undergone three major surgeries. One of these surgeries involved the insertion of a cadaver Achilles tendon into his arm, meant to aid in restoring strength. The surgeries, along with other medical visits and procedures, have cost Papakalodoukas over $200,000. As a result of the fall Papakalodoukas has also been left with a lifelong defect called a “popeye deformity,” which creates abnormal bulges on his arm. He also suffers from depression due to anxiety about his future and his health. Papakalodoukas has not been able to return to work since the fall.
Store surveillance cameras showed both the Gatorade sign falling and Papakalodoukas’ fall. Wal-Mart first placed blame on Gatorade because, according to Wal-Mart, Gatorade did not provide appropriate screws for holding the sign in place on the display. Further, Wal-Mart contended that its employees did not have time to pick up the sign in between the time that it fell and the time that Papakalodoukas slipped on it. Papakalodoukas’ attorney presented evidence that if the sign had been properly assembled on the display, there was no chance it could have fallen. The all-female jury deliberated for only four hours. It found Wal-Mart 90% at fault and awarded Papakalodoukas nearly $1.3 million. A spokesperson from Wal-Mart states that the company plans to appeal the decision.
Jury awards Port St. Lucie man $1.3 million in case against Wal-Mart, www.palmbeachpost.com February 8, 2013
Papakalodoukas was innocently shopping in Wal-Mart when he came upon a condition he had no control over. Fallen signs, spilled products, and water on the ground all pose particularly dangerous hazards for anyone shopping in a retail or grocery store. Individuals are often unable to see a sign, product, or liquid on the ground until it is too late. Big companies like Wal-Mart often fight liability by placing the blame on the customer or another company, but the expert premises liability attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona are well-equipped to fight the defenses of these large corporations. The West Palm Beach slip-and-fall attorneys have over two decades of experience obtaining compensation for individuals like Papakalodoukas who have been seriously injured as a result of a store’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a slip-and-fall accident, call (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation!
The Miami personal injury attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of premises liability cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury claims, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents and construction site injuries. Call today and let our family take care of your family!