Brain Injury in Bowling Alley Results in Settlement

An unmarried gentleman in his mid-30's who held a significant employment position with a large national corporation suffered a mild traumatic brain injury while bowling during a corporate outing. A pool of conditioning oil which leaked from a lane conditioning machine onto the approach caused our client to slip and fall, striking his head on the floor.

After a thorough national search, our office retained as trial experts two key consultants:

  1. An upstate New York consultant who is a multiple PBA tournament winner with years of bowling center ownership and operations experience;
  2. A New Hampshire based Ph.D. mechanical engineer with 28 years of experience in designing floor waxing machines. Our office worked countless hours with these experts to prepare for depositions of the bowling center employees and managers, as well as the chief engineer, chief chemist, and director of product testing for the national bowling conglomerate defendant.

Despite defense assertions that our client crossed over the foul line onto the lane surface, eyewitness testimony established that he fell on the approach area. The defense also initially asserted that the lane conditioning machine was "state of the art" and could not leak. After working with our retained experts we established evidence of numerous ways in which lax maintenance and component failures can result in conditioning machine leaks onto approach surfaces not intended for oiling.

During intensive trial preparation, Ted Karavidas took deposition testimony of numerous witnesses in Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio and California. Moreover, we worked with treating health care providers and retained experts in the specialties of neurology, rehabilitation medicine, neuropsychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, nursing, vocational assessment, and vocational economics in order to fully develop all proof needed to establish at trial the nature and extent of our client's injuries and the effects on his life with respect to his physical, emotional, and psychological conditions, as well as issues relating to his loss of earning capacity.

With the trial date approaching, the defense became earnest in its desire to settle the case before trial. After substantial negotiations, the defense agreed to pay the sum of $1,720,000. Our retained structured settlement expert then assisted in the purchase of an annuity, thereby providing our client both with up-front cash and an ongoing stream of tax-free income for the rest of his life, the total of which is guaranteed to produce a tax-free money recovery of multiple seven figures. We are proud that our efforts in working with all of the experts contributed to maximize our client's health recovery as well as provide him with economic security for the rest of his life.

One interesting sidenote arises from this case. The defense admitted that recreational bowlers, particularly children, regularly cross over the foul line. The defense also acknowledged that recreational bowlers typically are unaware of the slippery condition found on bowling lanes. As a result of our efforts, yellow and black signs warning of the dangers of crossing the foul line were placed conspicuously in bowling centers operated by the defendant national bowling conglomerate. These signs are likely to prevent future injuries to both children and adults.

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