We represented a 28-year old mother of three who was seriously injured at a Phoenix-area grocery store. Our client was standing by the freezer section of the store watching her young children get cookies at the bakery counter. A store employee entered through double doors, pushing a bakery cart approximately six feet high, and filled with bread. Apparently unable to see our client over the cart, the employee wheeled it into the back of our client. The cart cut our client’s left leg near the Achilles tendon. Our client was taken to a nearby hospital where the 3.5 cm laceration was stitched up. Due to continuing pain in her leg and foot, our client’s doctors recommended an MRI. The MRI showed that the Achilles tendon had been partially severed by the grocery cart.
Our client’s doctors recommended surgery to repair the Achilles tendon. The surgery was performed approximately two months after the injury. Our client was immobilized for several weeks following surgery. She later received physical therapy on her leg and foot. Despite the surgery and rehabilitation, almost one year after the injury our client still complained of extreme pain in her ankle and tenderness over the repaired Achilles tendon site. Her orthopedic surgeon suggested another MRI because of the poor outcome. The second MRI showed a thickening of the Achilles tendon. To reduce some of the inflammation, he twice injected the area with cortisone. Although the cortisone shots offered temporary relief, our client failed to show any signs of improvement. She was still experiencing a 75% loss of muscle in her left leg and her left heel remained completely numb.
Approximately 16 months after the injury, a second surgery was performed to explore the left Achilles tendon and repair the tendon as necessary. Our client was declared stationary 90 days after the second surgery, but she continued to have pain in her foot and heel. At that time, she was given a permanent impairment rating by her doctor. Our client now walks with a noticeable limp and is limited in her ability to perform physical activities. Her doctors believe that she suffers from chronic tendonitis and possible sural nerve damage. These conditions can be treated, but will require additional therapy, injections, and possibly surgery on her heel. The prognosis is uncertain.
We filed suit against the store on behalf of our client and her husband. Our client claimed damages for injuries resulting from the incident, which was caused by the store employee’s negligence, including her pain, discomfort, disability, and mental anguish. Her husband claimed loss of consortium damages. Prior to trial, the husband’s claim was settled for $10,000, plus costs. The wife’s claim was submitted to binding arbitration by agreement of the parties. The arbitrator awarded the wife $225,000 for her damages.
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