Marlena Turns a $30,000 Insurance Settlement Offer Into a $1 Million Dollar Jury Verdict.
The client called Marlena when Labor and Industries denied her claim for falling on the ice in her employer’s parking lot on her way to work, which fractured her wrist. Marlena immediately realized the client did not have a workers’ compensation claim but did have a personal injury claim against her employer. When the employer’s insurance company offered only $30,000 to settle the case, Marlena filed in King County Superior Court.
Marlena got records from the employer that showed another employee had fallen on the icy parking lot a week before her client. And, the person called in to replace her client fell on the icy parking lot when she arrived two hours later. Weather records documented that the weather had been cold and snowy for a week prior to the fall. Despite the evidence, the employer’s attorneys denied liability and held firm all the way through trial that there was no ice in the parking lot. They even hired former King 5 meteorologist Jeff Renner to testify the weather conditions were such that there could not have been any ice.
At issue also were the employer’s snow and ice policies and procedures for its parking lot. They claimed they put ice melt down any time the temperature got even close to freezing. Remember that it had been snowing and very cold for the whole week prior to the fall. If the employer were diligent as they claimed about putting down snow and ice melt, they should have used lots of it in the prior week. Marlena got the employer’s bookkeeping records. It showed that the employer had not bought snow and ice melt for the prior five years before her client’s fall!
This case shows juries are not stupid and will use their common sense despite what an ‘expert’ like Jeff Renner says.