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Florida Prison Visitor Awarded $43,000 for Slip and Fall

On October 24, 2002, a Florida court awarded $43,302.52 to a woman who
injured her back when she slipped and fell in the visitation area of the
Baker Correctional Institution.

Dorothy Jackson, 65, was visiting her son, a state prisoner at Baker, on
August 31, 1996, when she slipped and fell on wet pavement. According to
Jackson, a short, uncovered sidewalk connected the indoor and canopied
outdoor visitation areas. Because it was raining, water had pooled under
the canopy, Jackson claimed. Moreover, the cement surface under the canopy
was smoother than that of the sidewalk. Thus, when Jackson stepped from the
sidewalk onto the smoother concrete under the canopy, she slipped and fell.
Jackson claimed there were no warning signs. Prison officials claimed
Jackson was aware of the wet conditions and failed to use due care.

At trial Jackson claimed the fall resulted in a ruptured disc at C6-C7;
cervical spondylosis and right cervical radiculopathy; cervical, dorsal,
and lumbosacral sprain; numbness in her hands and feet; and difficulty
sleeping. Jackson's expert neurologist, Manley W. Kilgore, II, M.D.,
assigned Jackson a 15% whole person permanent partial impairment rating.

Judge George H. Pierce awarded Jackson $31,302.52 for past medical
expenses, $8,500 for future medical expenses, and $3,500 for past pain and
suffering, for a total award of $43,302.52 plus costs of $13,059.07.
However, because Jackson was found to be 50% comparatively negligent, the
award was reduced to $21,651.26. Thus, with costs, Jackson's total recovery
was $34,710.33.

Jackson's other experts included Richard E. Kersey, D.C. (chiropractic);
George A. Winterling (meteorology); and Joseph Perry, Ph.D. (economist).
All the experts were based in Jacksonville, Florida. Jackson was
represented by Richard R. Alexander and James Daniel of the Jacksonville
firm Coker, Myers, et al. See: Jackson v. State of Florida, Baker County
Court, Case No. 99-180-CA.

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Related legal case

Jackson v. State of Florida