At the 2015 U.S. Open, Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard slipped and fell on a wet floor in a locker room. She hit her head on the floor and suffered a serious head injury that caused her to slip from No. 5 in the world in 2014 to No. 116 today. She blamed the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for her injury.
The accident happened at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, when Bouchard was 23. The tennis center is owned by the USTA.
Shortly after 10 p.m. one night, Bouchard went into a physiotherapy room inside the locker room in order to take an ice bath. She took two steps into the training area when she suddenly lost her footing and fell, hitting the back of her head on the floor. She described being in shock as she found herself “staring at the ceiling” and felt a burning sensation from what she believes was cleaning solution left on the floor. She also testified that it was the USTA’s negligence that caused her fall.
Bouchard, who had been a Wimbledon finalist in 2014, was forced to withdraw from the remainder of the 2015 U.S. Open, in which she was still in contention. She also felt forced to withdraw from later tournaments in China and Japan.
The USTA, which is tennis’s governing body in the United States, argued that Bouchard should not have gone into the locker room without a trainer or other U.S. Open personnel. It also said that the cleaning crew had the impression that all the players were gone for the night.
A federal jury in Brooklyn determined recently last month that Bouchard’s own negligence contributed to the fall and injury by 25 percent. The jury found the USTA 75-percent responsible. Another phase of the trial will determine damages and just how much the USTA has to pay Bouchard.
When a person is injured in a slip-and-fall accident due to another party’s negligence, he or she may potentially bring a lawsuit under the law of premises liability. Under premises liability theory, a property owner or manager can be held responsible for injuries resulting from any negligent act.
If you have been injured on someone else’s premises through little or no fault of your own, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.