On November 5, 2013, Tonya and David Bouckaert were attempting to cheer on their daughter at a basketball game at Lindenwood College, when disaster struck. As the game was getting ready to begin, the Bouckaerts found seats in the third row of the bleachers in order to get a good view of their daughter. However, before the game started, Tonya decided to take a quick trip to the bathroom…and unfortunately, her trip turned out to be quite literal.
As she stepped down onto the end of the last row of bleachers, the seat portion suddenly swung forward, causing her to fall violently to the floor, to hit her shoulder and head on the bleacher railing, and to injure her left knee. As a result of the fall, Mrs. Bouckaert sustained the following injuries:
- Damage to her shoulders and head
- A torn ACL in her left knee
- A left knee medial meniscus tear
- A left knee MCL sprain
The injuries to her knee caused her to experience excessive pain, swelling, and tightness, and require reconstruction surgery which limited in her normal everyday activities.
Due to the nature of the incident, the Bouckaerts blame the college for the injuries, and filed a slip and fall lawsuit against Lindenwood on October 10, 2014 for $100,000 plus any additional damages that the court deems fit. The justification for the claim states that the school directly violated Bouckaert’s personal safety by:
- Negligently allowing a broken bleacher to remain on its premises
- Allowing the bleacher seat to be used (in no way was it marked as broken or taped off)
- Failing to adequately inspect the conditions of the bleachers
- Neglecting to repair the unsafe condition
- Disregarding the need to warn of the dangerous conditions and allowing the bleachers to be used despite the danger
Differing Opinions Lead to Complications, Insults, and Trial by Jury
According to an unnamed spokesperson from Lindenwood, the college recently denied all allegations of neglect on their behalf, stating that the real carelessness associated with the accident came from the plaintiff herself, Mrs. Bouckaert. The college blatantly accuses Bouckaert of personally failing to keep a proper lookout and exercise proper precautions when she was stepping on the seats. They further state that she neglected her own safety by failing to keep her body under control while walking (too fast) over the uneven bleachers.
Due to the contrary accounts of what happened and who’s to blame, Lindenwood has requested a trial by jury. Although the trial has yet to begin, Circuit Court Judge Andrew Gleeson has been named as the presiding judge.
The fall accident lawyers at Jones Wilson would like to send our sympathies to Mrs. Bouckaert and wish her a speedy recovery from her injuries. We would also like to wish her good luck during the proceedings. We hope that justice will prevail for her and her family.