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Jury Awards Woman $270,000 After Tripping at a Garden Supply Store

A Lake County jury recently found in favor of a woman, who sustained soft-tissue injuries as a result of tripping over a defective rubber mat at a local garden supply store and awarded her $270,000 in compensatory damages. On February 28, 2011, while shopping at Alsip Home & Nursery, a lawn and garden supply store located in St. John, Indiana, Barbara Banske tripped on a rubber floor mat the store had placed near its front entrance. As a result of her fall, Ms. Banske sustained soft-tissue injuries and suffered pain from her neck downward on her left side. No bones were fractured or broken as a result of her fall; however, she did receive both physical therapy and naprapathy treatments for her injuries. Naprapathy is a manipulative therapy that focuses on evaluation and treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, and is often viewed as a derivative of chiropractic and osteopathic care. Alsip Home & Nursery defended the case, claiming that the floor mat was not defective. The store further argued that Ms. Banske’s injuries were the result of her own negligence and carelessness. Despite its contentions that the rubber mat did not pose a hazard, after a two day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ms. Banske. The jury determined that Alsip Home & Nursery was 90% at fault for the accident and Ms. Bankse was 10% at fault. The jury further determined that Ms. Banske’s total damages totaled $270,000. However, because Indiana, like most states, follows a comparative fault system of liability, Ms. Banske’s award was reduced by ten percent to reflect her share of the blame. The comparative fault system works to allow plaintiffs to recover for their injuries despite their role in causing the accident; however, it limits the total recovery by the plaintiff’s amount of fault thereby preventing plaintiffs from recovering for damages they themselves caused. Consequently, Ms. Banske’s award of $270,000 was reduced by ten percent to reflect her share of the blame bringing her recovery for her injuries to $243,000. As the Banske v. Alsip Home & Nursery case illustrates, even seemingly minor accidents can result in significant liability. As such, if you believe someone or something caused you pain and bodily injuries, it is always in your best interest to consult an attorney before accepting any settlement offers or other offers of compensation, including payment of medical bills. If you or someone you know has been injured due to another’s negligence, please call 877-877-LAW2 (5292) or 219-924-2427 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

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