Earlier this month, an Ohio woman recovered over $1.3 million after a jury found in her favor in a premises liability lawsuit filed against a supermarket chain. The lawsuit alleged that the supermarket chain failed to provide adequate instruction to customers using motorized shopping carts.
According to one industry news source reporting on the case, the accident occurred back in 2012, when another customer lost control of a motorized grocery cart and struck the plaintiff. After being struck by the cart, the plaintiff was tossed four feet and struck her head on the side of a nearby shelf. As a result, the 71-year-old plaintiff suffered serious head and neck injuries, requiring ongoing treatment.
While no supermarket employees were involved in the accident, the plaintiff proceeded under the theory that the grocery store was negligent in failing to provide adequate instructions for customers using the motorized carts. To help her case, the plaintiff submitted evidence of 119 similar accidents involving motorized grocery carts in the same supermarket chain over a nine-year period. With this evidence, the plaintiff was able to argue that the grocery store chain was aware of the dangers involved in letting customers use the motorized carts without instructions. The jury’s verdict consisted of $125,000 in compensatory damages and $1.2 million in punitive damages.
The Difference Between Compensatory and Punitive Damages
As noted above, the jury awarded the injured woman both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are those that are designed to put the plaintiff in as close to a position to where they were before they were involved in the accident. These damages include compensation amounts for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and a decrease in any future earning capacity.
In comparison, punitive damages are designed to deter the negligent or reckless behavior of the defendant. As a result, punitive damages awards can often be significantly higher than compensatory damages, but they are also more difficult to obtain. For example, in Indiana, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant was more than merely negligent. There must be a showing of “willful or wanton misconduct.” This includes a situation when a defendant is aware of a substantial risk and consciously chooses to disregard that risk.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Indiana premises liability accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages, but punitive damages can be much harder to obtain. To learn more about the various types of damages that you may be entitled to receive, contact the Indiana personal injury lawyers at Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson at 888-765-7411 to set up a free consultation and case evaluation. With decades of experience and thousands of cases under their belt, the attorneys at Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson know what it takes to successfully represent their clients.
Court Finds At-Fault Driver’s Employer Not Liable Under Vicarious Liability Theory, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, October 12, 2016
Court Broadly Interprets Good Samaritan Law to Include Non-Medical Professionals Who Provide Any Kind of Emergency Treatment, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, September 20, 2016