After suffering a head injury and other ailments from a slip-and-fall inside a physical therapy room following her win at the U.S. Open, professional tennis player Eugenie Bouchard is suing the U.S. Tennis Association and the firm that owns the facility. She alleges negligence by both entities caused her fall, which in turn has directly and profoundly impacted her career, costing her to perform badly or bow out of critical matches for which she otherwise might have earned millions, including endorsements.
Although most slip-and-fall cases aren’t this high-stakes or this high-profile, this situation does highlight how greatly a fall like this can affect so many aspects of a person’s life.
According to The New York Times, the lawsuit alleges that in early September, Bouchard entered a physical therapy room after a mixed doubles match and a news conference. As the 21-year-old stepped onto the tile, she immediately slipped on a slippery, foreign substance that was on the floor.
Her attorney later says it was determined to be a type of cleaning agent that crews had intended to keep on the floor overnight to dry. However, there was no sign warning of a wet surface, and neither the room nor the building was closed off to access by players. He would later assert to reporters that if cleaning crews intended for the substance to dry overnight, they should have locked the door or put a sign up indicating it would be necessary to proceed with caution.
Bouchard reportedly suffered from a concussion, as well as other injuries as a result of the fall. Her attorney says she is “still troubled” by the injury. In Wuhan, China, for example, she was forced to withdraw from a tournament due to lingering symptoms of head injury. Then in Beijing, where she had reached the finals last year, she had no choice but to withdraw midway through this time due to dizziness. She says she was also forced to withdraw from competitions in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
At this time last year, she was at her peak performance, ranking No. 5 worldwide. Now, her rank has dropped to No. 39.
Her lawsuit indicates she is seeking unspecified damages, and her attorney opines it could be in the “millions and millions” of dollars, given what she could be missing out on in terms of professional advancement and product endorsements.
Some of that might be speculative, but courts often weigh these issues, which are more formally known as lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Lost wages refers to the money, overtime, sick time and other quantifiable benefits that are lost as a direct result of an injury caused by the negligence of another. Loss of earning capacity, meanwhile, refers to the decrease in a person’s ability to earn income. It is also sometimes called a “future loss of earnings” or “impairment of earning power.”
If negligent is established in this case, the question of damages could be one that is hotly contested because the actual earning potential of a professional sports player – especially one who is paid based on a per-win basis – is largely speculative. This is one of those situations in which a skilled personal injury lawyer with extensive experience is imperative.
Contact our Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Eugenie Bouchard Sues Over Injuries From Fall at U.S. Open, Oct. 14, 2015, By Ben Rothenberg, New York Times
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