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Linking Chain of Hospitalizations to Grocery Store’s ADA-Noncompliant Handicap Parking

A grocery store’s defect in their handicapped parking space caused an immunocompromised boy’s wheelchair to topple over, causing three back-to-back hospitalizations. Because of the uneven pavement, he fell onto the hot, dirty asphalt, resulting in life-threatening medical complications. However, his attorney needed a solution to paint a clear picture of how the substantial and lifelong damages resulted from the store’s ADA-noncompliant loading zone.

R.M. was a 12-year-old boy living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As he approached the loading zone secured tightly in his chair, its wheels caught on the protruding asphalt, causing him to fall forward and scrape his hips, knees, and face. An ambulance took him to the emergency room for his superficial injuries and he was discharged that night. However, a rare bacterium from the asphalt entered his hip abrasion. Two days later, R.M. suffered septic shock. He was taken back to the hospital, requiring an 18-day stay in the ICU with a high-dose steroid regimen to treat his infection. R.M. survived the ordeal but was rushed back three weeks later after complaints of debilitating headaches, vision blur, and confusion. R.M. was then diagnosed with steroid-induced diabetes, brought on by the consecutive health emergencies.

R.M.’s mother contacted Steven Chavez of Chavez Law Firm P.C. after he first fell. Steven quickly opened a claim against the grocery store, notifying them to preserve all documentation and footage of the incident. Additionally, he thoroughly organized R.M.’s mountain of medical records. Steven anticipated difficulty explaining how R.M.’s continued hospital stays were connected to the Defendant’s unlevel pavement. To help him explain the particulars of this case, Steven retained several experts including a construction defect engineer, a pediatric infectious disease physician, and a pediatric endocrinologist. With his gathered evidence, he called on DK Global to collaborate with his experts and create a clear presentation that outlined the succession of events.

The presentation began with the grocery store’s surveillance footage capturing R.M.’s fall. An animation depicting R.M.’s mechanism of injuries was displayed from a front view, showing his wheelchair tripping on the defect and the seatbelt scraping his skin. The asphalt was presented with a 1.25-inch height difference from the concrete surface. R.M. was then shown laying unconscious in the pediatric critical care unit after the infection caused septic shock. His medical records were displayed, documenting the high-dose steroid regimen to treat his life-threatening condition, ultimately inducing diabetes three weeks later. The video summarized R.M.’s decline with a domino metaphor, demonstrating how the devastating and rapid hospitalizations stemmed from the grocery store’s ill-constructed handicap parking zone.

With nothing to hide, Steven shared the animation with the Defense. The opposing counsel opted to mediate the case, resulting in a confidential settlement for R.M. and his family.

For over 25 years, Steven M. Chavez has been advocating for catastrophic injury survivors in the New Mexico community, beginning his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Valencia County. Since 2002, Steven has consulted local municipalities regarding their legal affairs and has handled numerous wrongful death, civil rights, and personal injury matters. Steven takes pride in devoting himself to a select number of cases to ensure his clients receive his absolute attention and the best representation they deserve.

A grocery store’s defect in their handicapped parking space caused an immunocompromised boy’s wheelchair to topple over, causing three back-to-back hospitalizations. Because of the uneven pavement, he fell onto the hot, dirty asphalt, resulting in life-threatening medical complications. However, his attorney needed a solution to paint a clear picture of how the substantial and lifelong damages resulted from the store’s ADA-noncompliant loading zone.
R.M. was a 12-year-old boy living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As he approached the loading zone secured tightly in his chair, its wheels caught on the protruding asphalt, causing him to fall forward and scrape his hips, knees, and face. An ambulance took him to the emergency room for his superficial injuries and he was discharged that night. However, a rare bacterium from the asphalt entered his hip abrasion. Two days later, R.M. suffered septic shock. He was taken back to the hospital, requiring an 18-day stay in the ICU with a high-dose steroid regimen to treat his infection. R.M. survived the ordeal but was rushed back three weeks later after complaints of debilitating headaches, vision blur, and confusion. R.M. was then diagnosed with steroid-induced diabetes, brought on by the consecutive health emergencies.
R.M.’s mother contacted Steven Chavez of Chavez Law Firm P.C. after he first fell. Steven quickly opened a claim against the grocery store, notifying them to preserve all documentation and footage of the incident. Additionally, he thoroughly organized R.M.’s mountain of medical records. Steven anticipated difficulty explaining how R.M.’s continued hospital stays were connected to the Defendant’s unlevel pavement. To help him explain the particulars of this case, Steven retained several experts including a construction defect engineer, a pediatric infectious disease physician, and a pediatric endocrinologist. With his gathered evidence, he called on DK Global to collaborate with his experts and create a clear presentation that outlined the succession of events.
The presentation began with the grocery store’s surveillance footage capturing R.M.’s fall. An animation depicting R.M.’s mechanism of injuries was displayed from a front view, showing his wheelchair tripping on the defect and the seatbelt scraping his skin. The asphalt was presented with a 1.25-inch height difference from the concrete surface. R.M. was then shown laying unconscious in the pediatric critical care unit after the infection caused septic shock. His medical records were displayed, documenting the high-dose steroid regimen to treat his life-threatening condition, ultimately inducing diabetes three weeks later. The video summarized R.M.’s decline with a domino metaphor, demonstrating how the devastating and rapid hospitalizations stemmed from the grocery store’s ill-constructed handicap parking zone.
With nothing to hide, Steven shared the animation with the Defense. The opposing counsel opted to mediate the case, resulting in a confidential settlement for R.M. and his family.
For over 25 years, Steven M. Chavez has been advocating for catastrophic injury survivors in the New Mexico community, beginning his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Valencia County. Since 2002, Steven has consulted local municipalities regarding their legal affairs and has handled numerous wrongful death, civil rights, and personal injury matters. Steven takes pride in devoting himself to a select number of cases to ensure his clients receive his absolute attention and the best representation they deserve.


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"If I could practice another 25 years, I hope to work with DK Global another 25 times. That's how good it turned out in this case, and I do believe DK Global was instrumental in that."
Steven M. Chavez - Chavez Law Firm




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