Betty was visiting her father in Valdosta, Ga. and went to buy some groceries at a local shopping center. She walked out of the store carrying several bags of groceries. When Betty stepped off the curb into the parking lot, she stepped right into a pothole that she couldn’t see because of the groceries she was carrying.

Betty tripped and fell, twisting her ankle and striking her knee on the ground. One witness said he thought Betty fainted because she fell so hard. She tore her Achilles tendon and required surgery to repair it.

The shopping center’s insurance company denied responsibility, so BBGA attorney Michael Ruppersburg filed a lawsuit on Betty’s behalf. Before the case went to trial, he secured a $120,000 settlement for Betty. The settlement was three times her medical bills, which were $40,000.


Betty’s knee and ankle were scraped and sore, but she didn’t think she was seriously hurt. She went back to her dad’s house, but the pain kept getting worse. Betty went to the emergency room first thing the next morning. Doctors took x-rays and didn’t see anything broken, but recommended she follow up with a specialist. She saw an orthopedic surgeon who took MRIs of her knee and ankle. The MRI of her ankle showed that her Achilles tendon was torn. Betty’s doctor recommended that she have surgery to repair it. She was on crutches and in a boot for three months while she recovered from the surgery.


During the lawsuit, we proved that the pothole had been there for several months and that the shopping center knew about it due to daily inspections but chose not to repair it. We also proved that the shopping center repaired the pothole immediately after learning about Betty’s incident. Shortly before the case went to trial, the insurance company agreed to a $120,000 settlement for Betty’s injuries.


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