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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Department Store Ordered To Pay $4.3M In Slip And Fall


Slip and fall lawsuits run the gamut from sprained ankles and bruises on your butt to catastrophic injuries. In order to recover $4.3 million in a slip and fall lawsuit, you need to be pretty messed up. A recent lawsuit filed against a major department store resulted in a jury verdict of $4.3 million in favor of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff slipped in a puddle and broke his nose resulting in traumatic brain injury. The department store claimed that the slip was not due to the puddle but the plaintiff suffered from depression.

The plaintiff contended that he received treatment for the broken nose, but his condition began to decline in the weeks after. He attributed the cognitive deficits to the slip and fall injury and sued on that basis. The department store contended that the cognitive deficits were related to untreated depression and had nothing to do with the alleged brain injury he suffered from the fall. This is a reasonable argument that completely backfired resulting in a nuclear judgment against the defendant. Slip and fall lawsuits very rarely eclipse $1 million, but when they do, it’s largely the result of poor civil defense strategy and permanent injury.

Why was this a poor civil defense strategy?

 Months after the incident, the plaintiff had to have a subdural hematoma removed from his brain. This is an injury associated with boxers. In fact, if you suffer one subdural hematoma, it will end your career as it has many boxers in the past, including those who are quite famous. At this point, the plaintiff was experiencing memory loss and other symptoms. The civil defense attorneys argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the fall, but rather untreated depression. It is unclear how they argued that depression can result in a subdural hematoma because it really doesn’t make any sense and likely insulted the jury’s intelligence. Hence why they returned a nuclear verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Generally, what happens is something like this. The plaintiff’s attorney has a number in their mind that they believe is fair considering the injuries caused to the plaintiff. The defense has their own number and when these numbers are too far apart, the defense will roll the dice in front of a jury. In this case, the defense did not really have any defense to the allegations. The negligence was established so they needed to manufacture doubt. Obviously, blaming a subdural hematoma on depression is not a great trial strategy.

At any rate, the jury didn’t buy it, but the defense attorneys thought it still best not to provide the plaintiff with the figure they were asking for.

Talk to a Tampa Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, call the Tampa personal injury lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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