Last week, an Alabama jury awarded $7.5 million to a man who fell while shopping for watermelons at a local Walmart. That may seem like a lot for a simple slip and fall, but security camera footage showed several shoppers suffering similar entanglements with a pallet hidden beneath the watermelon display, and Henry Walker went from playing basketball a few times a week with his friends to needing a walker just to get around after shattering his hip.
The case got us thinking about some of the biggest jury awards and settlements following slip and fall lawsuits, so here are the top five from our archives:
1. Slip-And-Fall Leaves Man Blind; Jury Gives Him $4M
Earlier this year, a jury found in favor of Bill Waite, who fell down an unmarked step along an otherwise level sidewalk. Waite, who previously had little to no functional eyesight in his right eye, struck his left eye against a chair, leaving him effectively blind.
2. Las Vegas Comedian Wins $1.3M Casino Injury Suit
The fall that left comedian George Wallace “permanently hobbled” with tendon damage was no laughing matter. The jury found the Bellagio liable for the onstage wiring in which Wallace became entangled, and compensated him for lost income.
3. Student Paralyzed in Apt. Fall to Get $11.6M
Lorna Bernhoft fell through a raised skylight opening on the fourth floor of an off-campus residence while a student the University of Pennsylvania. The fall left her paralyzed, and she reached an out-of-court settlement with the building’s owners.
4. CO Trucker Wins $10M in Walmart Slip and Fall
In another case involving Walmart, Holly Averyt suffered debilitating back injuries resulting from a grease spill on a Greeley Walmart’s loading dock. The retailer didn’t do itself any favors in court, denying a spill ever existed before being confronted with city records of a grease spill investigation at the site.
5. Jury Awards $3.2M to Woman Injured at Ikea Store
Not a slip, but certainly a fall — Xiaolei Zeng suffered a crushed pelvis when an eight-foot-high stack of countertops fell on top of her in a Potomac Mills, Virginia Ikea. Doctors testified during the trial that Zeng would likely suffer from lifelong pain.