Woman Awarded $7 Million after Door at Target Caused Brain Injuries

According to CBS News in Chicago, an elderly woman has been awarded a $7 million settlement in a lawsuit against a Target store in Rosemont, IL. Claire Putman, 81, suffered brain injuries after a malfunctioning swinging door struck her and knocked her to the ground. Putman hit her head when she fell to the ground.

A security video showed that after Putman fell, the door hit her in the head, according to her attorney Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr. She was hospitalized after the accident, which occurred on June 21, 2007.

“She can speak but has trouble processing words and processing thoughts,” said Corboy, noting that Putman has diffuse brain injury that caused lasting cognitive deficiencies.

Putman was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, a collection of blood on the surface of the brain. She had to undergo a craniotomy and excavation of the hematoma.

Before the accident, Putman lived with her 56-year-old daughter in the family home. The daughter, however, has special needs and cannot properly care for her injured mother. In fact, the Putman had cared for her daughter. Putman was living in a nursing home before the settlement. She will be able to move back home and pay for medical assistance using the settlement money.

“One of her family’s biggest needs was they wanted to get her out of the nursing home,” Corboy said.

Putnam’s attorney argued that Target failed to inspect and maintain the store’s doors and was negligent in following safety guidelines provided by the door manufacturer.

A Cook County judge signed the $7 million settlement on Monday. The settlement was from Target as well as door manufacturer Besam USA. The door manufacturer was accused of failing to design a door that provided a method of shutting down its fail-safe systems and warning employees that the door had malfunctioned.

In premises liability cases such as this one, the business owner or property owner may be held accountable for injuries. More than one party may be held liable, and the victim may have multiple grounds for suing negligent parties.

Premises liability cases can be vastly complicated. Plaintiffs must prove that the accident was caused by the defendant’s negligence. If you or a loved one have been injured while shopping in a store due to negligence on the part of management, contact a Georgia premises liability attorney.

If you’re injured while shopping – whether you trip and fall, slip and fall, or get knocked down by a defective door – make sure that management makes a written report of the accident. Be careful what you say after the accident; admitting fault (or even apologizing for being a klutz) may hurt your case. It’s best to contact an attorney before making any statements to management or insurance. If you need legal advice, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.