A Springfield, Missouri woman was hit with a heavy box while standing in line at a checkout, ultimately leading to a 1.6 million dollar settlement.
On October 6, 2001, Beverly Bottoms of Springfield and her 9 year old son were waiting in a checkout line at office supply store Staples. At that time, a Staples employee was pushing a 30 pound boxed folding table on a dolly. He stopped behind her to pick debris up off the floor and at that time the box fell forward and struck Ms. Bottoms in her lower back.
Initially after the incident, Beverly Bottoms thought she was going to be fine. However, shortly after the incident Bottoms developed radicular pain in her leg and experienced that pain over the next two years. In January 2004, Bottoms underwent an L4-L5 laminectomy and underwent a fusion of the L4-L5 and S1 vertebra the following November.
Bottoms and her physician eventually agreed that the table incident led to her latest injuries and she decided to seek legal counsel at that point. Bottoms saught representation from Steve Garner of The Strong-Garner-Bauer firm in Springfield. When she approached Garner, she simply said “I just want to make sure my medical bills are paid for”. Garner made numerous attempts to reach an agreement with the insurance carrier in which Bottoms’ medical bills would be covered; however Staple’s insurance carrier would not cooperate.
Garner said the insurance company contended because Bottoms already suffered from degenerative disk disease and because her previous spinal injuries left her unable to work as a hair stylist. In the opinion of the insurance carrier, being hit by the box did not cause her injuries.
To rebut this stance Garner called in an occupational medicine specialist to prove that this incident did in fact cause further damage to her back and will cause her continual pain and accruement of medical bills. Garner said that a 20 year old athlete may not suffer from such an incident, the impact means something entirely different for a woman in her mid-40s who already suffers from spinal problems.
Greene County Circuit Court granted a 1.6 million dollar settlement to the plaintiff, Beverly Bottoms.