Reggie Bush, one of the greatest college football running backs ever, recently recovered $12.5 million in a slip and fall accident lawsuit. Bush was returning a punt for the San Francisco 49ers. He was pushed out of bounds and slipped on a concrete strip in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. He tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee and didn’t play again for the remainder of the season.
While Bush signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills the following year, he secured a lower salary and didn’t play. Subsequently, he filed a premises liability or “slip and fall” accident lawsuit against St. Louis CVC and the St. Louis Rams, who owned and maintained the stadium where he fell.
Bush sued the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Center (“the CVC”), the owners of the dome, and the St. Louis Rams NFL organization, who had invited him to the stadium, on the theory of premises liability. Premises liability lawsuits, or slip and fall accident lawsuits, generally involve:
Under premises liability theory, possessors owe a duty of reasonable care to ensure the safety of any visitor and invitee. An invitee is a visitor to the property for the benefit of the Possessor, or of both parties. In a premises liability case, an invitee must prove that:
In other words, the party responsible for the property must provide a safe environment to those invited to the property. For example, in public places, staircases must be maintained. In apartment buildings, fire safety codes must be followed. In this case, the workplace for the NFL teams in the stadium had to be safe for players on and off the field.
The court found that the St. Louis Rams organization, rather than St. Louis CVC, was responsible for the stadium on game days, and therefore was the negligent party. Another player had been injured the preceding week after a similar fall on what Bush and his lawyer referred to as a “concrete ring of death.” Therefore, the court concluded that the St. Louis Rams knew of the hazard and failed to warn or prevent the resulting danger and injury to Bush.
The Missouri jury found that the St. Louis Rams were liable for $12.5 million in damages to Bush. The jury took into account both the loss of money and life functioning during the season Bush was injured as well as the damage done to his future earning potential.
However, Missouri Laws restrict damages in personal injury cases and he will not receive the full value of his award. State law requires 50% of Bush’s award to go to the state Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund. This fund provides money to the injured when the party responsible either does not have insurance or has declared bankruptcy.
Those injured in slip and fall/premises lawsuits often end up unable to work; few are professional athletes with millions of dollars in the bank. Bush had to pay bills and living expenses during the three years between his injury and the conclusion of his case, and may have to wait longer to receive actual payment.
Those not able to fund years waiting for a settlement can turn to pre-settlement funding. LawCash helps level the playing field by providing the legal funds you need to survive when you are waiting for the award you deserve. For more information about pre-settlement funding, call 1(800) LAW-CASH, or apply now.