Michelle Schaefer was walking into 54th Street Grill and Bar, owned by Kellen Restaurant Management, when she slipped and fell on a slick floor. The floor conditions, as described by Schaefer, felt like it had a layer of Crisco on it. This wasn’t the first complaint about the floor; there were reports of others falling in the area in the past. In fact, the manager told her the day after she fell that “she wasn’t the first and she wouldn’t be the last.”
Nothing was blocked off the slick floor nor warned about the hazardous condition. As a result of the fall, Schaefer sustained a broken knee cap.
Before she fell, Shaeffer was an avid runner and this injury completely disabled her for several months. She couldn’t move around, she couldn’t work, and her doctor sent her to physical therapy recover functionality of her leg. Even after the bone healed, she had pain and couldn’t run like she did before. She was told she would never be able to run again.
Shaefer contacted us, and we agreed to take up her cause. We contacted Kellen Restaurant Management and their insurance company, American Family Insurance.
The insurance company offered our client $11,000 for her injuries, take it or leave it. We filed suit for her instead.
Lawsuits rarely go to trial anymore. After several years of preparation and delays, Ms. Schaefer’s day in court arrived. She offered to settle on the first day of trial for $25,000, but American Family didn’t even make a counter offer. They likely hoped that the jury would put all or at least some of the blame on our client.
Anytime a grownup falls in Missouri, the jury can decide that the victim was partially at fault. The victim does not get to recover any damages that were due to their own negligence, so if the victim is 10 percent at fault, they only get back 90 percent of their losses.
Because no one knows if a victim will get some of the blame after a slip and fall injury, many people settle for less than they should rather than take the risk at trial. Our firm has tried more cases for slip and fall victims than any other category of injury victim because we refuse to settle when the offer is too low. During the trial, the defendant tried to blame on our client. They attacked her in court and the defense lawyer accused her of lying. They claimed that the hazard was “open and obvious” meaning her injury was her fault for not watching where she was going. This ignored the logical conclusion that if she was expected to know about the slippery floor, the business could have known as well and they had the duty to keep floors reasonably safe for customers.
Kellen didn’t have anyone whose job duties included inspecting the floors for spills or other hazards. They claimed “it’s everyone’s responsibility, to monitor the floors, from the wait staff to the cooks. Saying that “it’s everyone’s responsibility” means that no one’s job included looking for hazards or cleaning them up.
After two days of trial, the jury found that Kellen didn’t keep its restaurant safe and Ms. Schaefer’s injury was both avoidable and 100% Kellen’s fault. The jury entered its verdict in Ms. Schaefer’s favor for $75,000.
Cases like this are why we prepare every claim for trial. We know that insurance companies will use every trick or tactic they can to reduce the amount that they have to pay victims. The S.E. Farris Law Firm won’t stand for insurance companies taking advantage of our clients. If you’ve been injured in an accident, The S.E. Farris Law Firm is just a phone call or click away. We offer free consultations to discuss your case with you and advise you from beginning to end. To reach us, call us at 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937) 24-hours a day or send us a message.
[MG1]Link to American Family Insurance Page. Link at bottom of page