Nicola Carter never imagined a trip to Jacksonville with her children would leave her with serious injuries, resulting in a lifetime of pain and total knee replacement surgery. As Mrs. Carter and her family were finishing breakfast at the Jacksonville Airport Aloft Hotel in August 2013, she got up to move her car to the front so it would be easier to load their luggage when they checked out. Unfortunately, unknown to Mrs. Carter, the hotel cleaning crew had just mopped the floors in the hallway behind her.
Although the owners require the cleaning crew to place wet floor signs out on the floor if it’s wet, there were none in sight. The hallway was polished concrete, which means Mrs. Carter had no way to tell if the floor was wet – it does not change appearance. As soon as she stepped onto the wet floor, Mrs. Carter fell to the ground. She did not want to leave her children at the hotel alone, so she declined going to the emergency room. Instead, she endured excruciating knee pain the entire trip home to North Carolina while her son drove her and her daughter.
Upon returning home, Mrs. Carter had her knee examined by an orthopedic surgeon. The same doctor had previously treated her for knee pain, but quickly alleviated it with a few cortisone injections. However, this time the doctor diagnosed Mrs. Carter with a significant, permanent problem with her knee, in addition to her prior knee problem becoming permanently aggravated. Despite months of conservative care, physical therapy, injections and medications, Mrs. Carter was required to have surgery to help restore function to her knee and alleviate her pain. Although the surgery was successful, Mrs. Carter would ultimately need a total knee replacement due to injuries caused by the fall.
Originally, Mrs. Carter wanted to amicably resolve her claim and thought it would happen easily, as the fault of the hotel’s cleaning crew was clear and her injuries were real. Unfortunately, even with the facts on Mrs. Carter’s side, the defendants and their insurance company refused to resolve the case. They failed to recognize the egregious conduct of their cleaning crew and refused to acknowledge the seriousness of Mrs. Carter’s injuries.
Mrs. Carter knew she needed help and decided to hire an attorney at a Sarasota law firm to represent her. Although the attorney investigated the facts regarding the fall and obtained helpful information from Mrs. Carter’s doctors, the hotel’s insurance company still refused to resolve the case. The attorney knew a Jacksonville trial law firm would be best equipped to litigate and try this case in Duval County, so they contacted Coker Law Partner Matthew Posgay to take over Mrs. Carter’s case.
Ultimately, Coker Law was forced to file a lawsuit on behalf of Mrs. Carter against The Jacksonville Airport Aloft Hotel’s owners and property management company due to their negligence, and the refusal of their insurance company to offer her anything. Posgay forced the defendants to admit liability, but the insurance company still refused to pay anything even somewhat reasonable. On the eve of the trial, after litigating the case for several years, Posgay finally got the defense-selected compulsory medical examining doctor to admit the seriousness of Mrs. Carter’s injuries. The defendants’ insurance company finally resolved the case for $705,000.
“Thankfully, Mrs. Carter was patient and gave Coker Law the time needed to obtain an excellent result for her,” said Posgay. “It was through the confidence Mrs. Carter placed in Coker Law and our trial preparation that we were able to obtain a fair resolution of her case. We knew from the beginning it would be a long fight, but patience and perseverance meant justice prevailed!”
Case Title: Carter v. Summit Hotel Properties, Inc., et. al.
Attorneys/staff involved in case: Attorney Matthew Posgay, Legal Assistant Denora Buben, Paralegal Korrine Diggs
Date of Settlement: October 2019
Amount of Settlement: $705,000