Our client, a 57-year-old woman, was walking from her home, located in Berwyn, Illinois, to a nearby restaurant for dinner. While walking in the alleyway, a direct path from her home to the restaurant, she violently slipped and fell on grease and landed on her left arm coming to rest on her side in a pile of grease. We were able to secure video footage which captured the occurrence. After some time, our client managed to get on her feet and stumble into the well-known fast food restaurant (not the restaurant she was planning on having dinner at) in excruciating pain. It’s at this point that our client believes, and witnesses have corroborated, she fainted from the pain. Officers from the Berwyn Police Department were then called to the scene.
Upon arrival the officers noted that our client was covered in grease on her back and body and appeared to be in severe pain. The officers spoke with the manager of the fast food restaurant, who relayed that she had inspected “a lot of grease in the alleyway.” The officers inspected the area themselves and observed a “slick oily substance in the back work area towards the back door.” The officer noted that upon opening the rear door to alleyway, where our client had fallen, he could see a “heavy amount of grease pooling throughout the alleyway…from the restaurant near the back door behind and near an electrical panel.” The manager confirmed that the grease trap was in the area of where the grease appeared to be coming from. After taking several pictures and requesting access to the video footage, the officers asked the Berwyn Fire Department to inspect the area.
The Berwyn Fire Department immediately contacted city services to conduct a thorough inspection. After their investigation, and several measures to mitigate the risk of further injuries, the business was cited for “depositing debris in a public place, noxious odor & substance/foul condition.”
Our client, who is left-hand dominant, suffered a very complicated Colles’ fracture to her left wrist; more specifically an acute transverse, impacted fracture of the left distal radius with dorsal tilt and neutral ulnar variance. She initially underwent an open reduction internal fixation of that wrist under the care of an orthopedic surgeon at Loyola Hospital.
Following that procedure, which required hardware installation, she experienced severe and perpetual pain. To qualm or control that pain, the orthopedic surgeon had her undergo a triangular fibrocartilage complex injection and resume therapy. Following extensive physical therapy, where complaints regarding pain seemed to only intensify, our client was diagnosed with an ulnar nerve impaction.
After consulting with a second orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, with regards to that ulnar pain, the surgeon recommended another surgery to remove some of the plates and screws in our client’s arm. Following some delays due to the pandemic, our client underwent an arthroscopic procedure which included an ulnar osteotomy and distal radius hardware removal. Following that procedure, she underwent another 17 therapy sessions.
Her injuries and medical treatment forced her to miss substantial time from work. She was a clerk at a grocery store near her home. She returned to work but unfortunately the pain never subsided. After consulting with the second orthopedic surgeon, it was recommended that she undergo another, and hopefully final, operative procedure. Our client did undergo that recommended surgery to alleviate the continual pain she had been experiencing, a left forearm ulnar shortening and plate removal.
All in all, our client incurred over $200,000 in medical bills, and over $11,000 in wages lost. She experienced severe pain and suffering. Additionally, she has two prominent scars as a result of the three surgical procedures (one is about 4 inches large and the other measures about 2 inches). She had an incredibly hard time returning to her life as it was prior to this occurrence. For instance, she enjoyed golfing prior to this occurrence, and she has, unfortunately, been forced to quit. Prior to the occurrence our client frequently participated in yoga and other class workouts and although she has resumed fitness activity, she is unable to participate fully. She cannot open doors with her left hand and has significant trouble trying to pick anything up with her left hand. After 57 years, she has had to adjust to using her off-hand as her primary hand for most activities.
We litigated the aggressively and it eventually concluded via mediation for $485,000. The mediation was conducted by Retired Judge Christopher Lawler of ADR in Chicago, Illinois.