Nearly three years ago, a Colorado truck driver was making a delivery to a Wal-Mart store. She slipped and fell on a ramp that was covered in grease and ice. As a result she sustained an injury to the spine that required four surgeries. Even with the surgeries, the truck driver couldn't return to her previous line of work.
The truck driver had been working as a contractor, delivering products to Wal-Mart. She filed a claim against Wal-Mart for not taking care of their property. The allegations stated that employees at Wal-Mart were aware of the dangerous ramp, yet did nothing to clean up the grease or ice.
There had been a debate as to whether there was an actual grease spill when the trucker slipped and fell. However, other evidence presented showed that Wal-Mart had known that there was a grease problem and were taking steps to try to fix the problem. The jury came to the conclusion that Wal-Mart was liable for the truck driver's injuries and awarded a substantial amount of money for losses and impairment.
Had the truck driver not been awarded money from the lawsuit, she would have been facing some financial struggles. Her back injury had caused her a lot of pain and suffering, not to mention the fact that she was subjected to invasive and expensive surgeries. Being unable to go back to making deliveries as a truck driver, she may not have had another source of income to pay for medical bills.
If she had been injured on the job, she might be able to obtain workers' compensation from her employer. This is a benefit that can help an injured worker pay for medical bills and cover lost wages during recovery. However in this case it was a third-party, Wal-Mart, whose negligence caused the slip and fall.
Source: The Denver Post online, "Wal-Mart fall victim awarded $15 million," Howard Pankratz, 9 November 2010