Verdict In Fairfax County – Merchandise Fell On Woman At IKEA

A  33-year-old woman, went to IKEA on her day off from work looking for a table top she could use as a writing desk.  She didn’t find anything in the main part of the store, so she went to the As-Is section, where IKEA displays for sale it is returned and damaged goods of all kinds.  There is a no-return policy for items purchased in the As-Is section, so customers must examine the merchandise before purchase.

She walked over to a large open cabinet where some table and countertops were stored on their ends.  There was nothing there that she wanted, so she turned to look for the way out of the section.  She had not touched anything.  Suddenly, several large countertops that had been leaning against the outside of the cabinet, and that weighed in excess of 350 pounds, fell on her crushing the pelvis.

IKEA’s method of displaying countertops that were too large for the cabinet was to lean them against the outside of the cabinet.  IKEA claimed this system was safe because there were bungee cords holding the countertops in place.  However, no one actually saw the bungee cor4ds after the incident, and one IKEA employee testified at trial that they did not know how strong the cords were and doubted whether they would have kept the large objects from falling.

She suffered fractures of her pelvis in two places and a fracture of the right side of her sacrum.  The first surgery she had was to insert a metal stabilizer so her pelvis would grow back together; the second surgery was to remove the metal hardware and screws.  There are two large, prominent scars on her lower back.  It has been almost three years since her injury, and she is left with pain every day.  This one active, joyful woman now moves slowly.  She doesn’t go hiking or climbing or bicycling or kayaking anymore.

She had a very good friend on the day she was injured, and they had planned to go hiking the next day, at which time they would have expressed their affection for each other.  That conversation didn’t happen for almost one year while she recuperated from her injury.  They got married in August 2008.  In addition to the pain has every day, she is concerned about getting pregnant and the strain the pregnancy will put on her body, plus how she will be able to care for the baby after it is born.

After three days of testimony, the jury returned a verdict in favour of her in the amount of $3,200,000 after two hours of deliberation.

Awarded: $3,200,000

Read more accidents and law-related articles here.

Why You Have to Be ‘Perfect’ to Win a Slip and Fall Case

From the time we are born, our body is trying to figure out every which way it can to get us to move. Babies delight grownups when they first get all their muscles to move in the right way so they can roll over and then when they can crawl and then walk. Just like all creatures, we are made to be mobile.

But, people who are injured while they are walking have a very hard, almost impossible, task of winning a personal injury case. For instance, if you are walking along and fall into a hole or are tripped up by a defect in the sidewalk or trip over a piece of merchandise that has been left in the aisle of a store or slip on liquid soap that has dripped on the floor, you must be almost perfect in your own behavior, even if the business created the hazard that caused the fall.

Let me tell you about a case we recently handled.

We represented a very nice woman who was severely injured (broken ankle) when she tripped over a defect in the sidewalk that surrounded the service station where she had taken her vehicle to be inspected. We took the case, in spite of the legal hurdles we faced because we liked her and believed she had nothing wrong. She had been told by an employee of the service station to walk to the back of the station along the sidewalk where she fell. As she was walking in the back of the station, she saw orange markings on the edge of the sidewalk and interpreted them as some sort of warning. So, she made sure to keep away from the edge. What she could not see, however, was that there was a >1″ drop off where she was walking. Her foot dropped off the end of the sidewalk and she fell. The business owner had created the hazard (basically, it was a cut out of the sidewalk where a ramp was built so cars could be driven across the sidewalk into the service bay), knew it could cause falls (there were orange cones that usually were in place to warn people of the drop off – they weren’t in place the day our client fell), and she had been told to go to the back of the station along that sidewalk (i.e., she was not on the sidewalk without permission).

We settled her case before we had to prepare for a trial. Unfortunately, the amount of the settlement did not reflect the seriousness of her injury. It did, however, reflect the nature of the law.

You see, almost everyone walks. We are taught as young children that we must watch where we are walking. Practically everyone has tripped over something in their lives. When contributory negligence rears its ugly head and jurors are told that the plaintiff cannot have contributed to her injury in any way, regardless of how careless the business owner is, injured plaintiffs are not treated fairly by the law.

If you have been injured in a “slip and fall” or “pedestrian knock down” case, call us.

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Law Day

President of the United States of America, do hereby designate, May 1 as Law Day – USA. I urge the people of the United States to observe the designated day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I especially urge the legal profession, the press, and the radio, television and motion picture industries to promote and to participate in the observance of that date.

The world knows of our leadership in material things, and of the high standard of living which our system has produced for our people. The thing we want people of the whole world to know is that in our country we are more proud of our moral principles as expressed in the concept of our government of laws that we are of any materialistic accomplishment or achievement of our people. It is the purpose of “Law Day-U.S.A.” to highlight this basic fact– thereby throwing a spotlight upon the rule of law in America-expressing to the people of the world our admiration and respect for the rule of law as the key to individual freedom and justice.


On Law Day, May 1, the law firm of us hosts its Annual Law Day fundraiser. The Foundation does many civic activities, including numerous outreach programs in the public schools, providing pro bono legal services for those who can not afford legal representation, and funding the public law library.

The featured highlight of the event is the reading of the Law Day Proclamation. The party is outdoors and very casual. It’s a Roast, as all we serve is a variety of different Hot Dogs. No burgers … no chicken… We try to give it that “old time” feel by serving old fashion root beer floats, popcorn, cotton candy, and roasted peanuts.

The live musical entertainment is truly noteworthy. We have a Jazz ensemble, Barbershop quartet and a Bagpipe player. We also feature a Shoe Shine company that sets up booths to give free shines. The police send a 12-foot inflatable police officer, to walk through the crowd. Team mascots from the Nationals and the Capitals have made appearances as well.

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Bicycle Accidents, Child Safety

Memorial Day is the traditional beginning of summertime activities.  Summer is the time when children are out on their bikes in big numbers — on their way to friends’ houses, the neighbourhood pool, running errands for parents.  Unfortunately, they are forced to ride among greater numbers of cars and trucks.  Roadways are crowded and drivers are inattentive. About driver inattention yesterday and the dangers it poses to children on bikes.

The website provides information on the laws affecting walkers, bikers and motor vehicle drivers.

Also, there is no statewide bicycle helmet law although localities can pass their own ordinances.

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Move Over, Slow Down — New Law

I heard this story from a friend.  If you drive you are faced with situations like this.

I wanted to give you a heads up about a relatively new law because of a traffic citation I received Sunday morning. As I was travelling in the right lane on the Toll Rd to the airport, I came upon a stopped state trooper on the right shoulder who had stopped a vehicle.  He was pulled all the way over on the shoulder. I was driving the speed limit and remained in my lane and even slowed down.  There was a speeding car that passed in the left lane, thus I stayed in my lane. The next thing I know, the trooper is behind us with his lights flashing and I thought he was going to go after the speeding car, but instead, he pulled me over.
The first thing the officer said was that I was not speeding, but the reason he pulled me over was that I was supposed to move over to the left lane prior to passing a stopped emergency vehicle. I told him I wasn’t aware of the law and he said he had just gotten hit the previous day by someone who hadn’t moved over. I thought he would give me a warning since I wasn’t aware of the law and was driving responsibly and haven’t gotten a ticket in over 10 years, but he gave me a summons where I have to appear in court. This is a class 1 misdemeanour violation which can result from up to $2500 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.

If you are driving on a four-lane highway with at least two lanes in your direction of travel, the law does, indeed, require a driver in the right lane to yield the right-of-way by moving over into the left lane if the lane change can be made safely given the traffic conditions.  If it is not safe to change lanes, then the driver is required to proceed with caution.

If you or someone you know gets pulled over and charged with a violation of this relatively new law, give us a call.  Although we don’t represent people charged with traffic violations, we know many good, experienced lawyers who do and are happy to refer clients to those other lawyers.

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