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Deadly Grocery Store Slip and Fall Settled for Seven Figures

A suburban grocery store in Washington State underwent a long-overdue floor remodel. After decades of wear and tear, the tiles were an eyesore and a potential safety hazard. Store employees lined the flooring with decrepit floor mats, which had been water-soaked for years. As a result, at least one of the mats became warped, its edges curling upward, creating a deadly hazard.

Before the remodel was complete, a 76-year-old woman tripped over one of the gibbous floor mats. She fell and slammed her head against the hard floor tiles. Fellow customers and grocery store workers rushed to her aid and called 911. She was dispatched to a local hospital. From there, she was transferred to the largest trauma hospital in the region. Despite the medical teams’ best efforts, she was pronounced dead about eight hours after her trip and fall.

The victim had suffered a coup-contrecoup brain injury, in which the impact from her fall caused her brain to slam against each side of her skull. Neurological experts later found that she was technically braindead within eight to ten minutes of the fall.

A few days after the incident, the victim’s family attorney reached out to John Greany, a partner at Greaney Scudder Law in Kent, Washington. He was driven to seek justice for the woman’s surviving family, which included her husband, son, and grandchildren.

John secured four experts for the case, including a storage safety expert, a mat/floor expert, a forensic economist, and neurosurgeons. Then, John enlisted DK Global to help communicate his case with a visual aid. The experts collaborated with DK Global to create a multimedia presentation that brought the victim’s fall and subsequent injuries into sharp relief.

The presentation began with images of the store and its location on a map. Then photographs were shown that a witness took within minutes of the fall. The photos included the mat that tripped the victim, revealing how it curled up in the corner. Next, store security footage showed the woman as she shopped. The footage included the moment she fell and how the mat folded and rolled when she tripped over it. A coup-contrecoup presentation followed. An animated recreation of the fall depicted the victim’s brain and how it slammed against her skull during her fall. After that, a brain slice presentation showed a 3D animation of the victim with her brain exposed, along with notes describing her brain injuries in great detail.

The Defense’s initial offer on the case was $50,000. After they saw the animation that DK Global prepared, the case resolved with a confidential settlement in the seven figures.

John Greaney is a founding partner of Greaney Scudder Law. With over three decades of experience, he focuses his practice on personal injury and healthcare law. John began his career as a prosecuting attorney and then as an insurance defense attorney before establishing his own practice. In addition, John consults with healthcare providers on disciplinary action, business formation issues, and other investigation and litigation issues.


"We're very thankful for the team at DK Global for helping us in this case. Even after 40 years of being an attorney, this case awakened me to the great value of accurate visualizations and their use, even in modest and medium-sized cases."
John J. Greaney — Greaney Scudder Law Firm, PPLC
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