Earlier this month, an elderly woman recovered just over $1.3 million after a jury found in her favor in a premises liability case involving a large grocery store chain. According to one industry news source reporting on the case, the accident took place back in 2012, when another customer inadvertently struck the woman with an electric grocery cart.
Evidently, the elderly plaintiff was shopping at a Giant Eagle grocery store when she was hit by another patron in an electric cart, after the patron had lost control of the cart. The collision tossed the woman nearly four feet into a nearby shelf. The force of the collision seriously injured the woman’s back and neck. She filed a premises liability lawsuit against the grocery store chain.
During the trial, the woman’s attorney submitted evidence to the jury of 119 other accidents occurring at Giant Eagle stores across the country. This enabled the attorney to argue not only that the grocery store was negligent in failing to provide adequate instructions to the customers using the carts but also that it had prior knowledge of the potential dangers involved in allowing uninformed customers to use the carts.
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded the woman a total of $1.3 million. The award amount consisted of $125,000 in compensatory damages to help cover the woman’s medical bills and pain and suffering, as well as $1.2 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages award was awarded based on the grocery store chain’s knowledge of the prior accidents and failure to implement any remedial measures.
Punitive Damages in Maryland
As noted above, punitive damages are designed to deter the egregious conduct of the defendant that gave rise to the victim’s injuries. In Maryland, punitive damages are rare, since before they can be awarded, the accident victim must show “actual malice.” In a case like the one discussed above, it is unlikely that punitive damages would be appropriate in Maryland, since that case involved the conscious disregard of a known risk.
Punitive damages are available in some Maryland personal injury cases, however. If punitive damages are not available, the focus of the plaintiff’s case becomes recovering as much as possible in the compensatory damages category, which can also offer significant recovery amounts. An experienced attorney can assist accident victims in determining which types of damages they may be entitled to receive upon success at trial.
Have You Been a Victim of a Business Owner’s Negligence?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience helping injured accident victims seek the relief they are entitled to receive. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated attorney. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our time unless we can help you obtain the recovery you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Family Loses Lawsuit and Subsequent Appeal in Case Against Smoke Detector Manufacturer, Maryland Accident Law Blog, September 19, 2016.
Accident Victim’s Bad-Faith Claim Against Insurance Company Fails Based on Legitimate Dispute of Liability and Causation, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 3, 2016.