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Florida Man “Has It His Way” After Slip in Burger King, Scores Whopper Settlement

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

A Florida man that simply wanted a Whopper is now getting a Whopper of a settlement from a franchisee in the Sunshine state.

48-year-old Richard Tulecki allegedly “suffered lower back injuries resulting in surgery” after he slipped on a foreign substance near the restroom, according to court documents. The fall caused “serious injuries” which required surgery, and Tulecki suffered a postoperative perforated colon, per his attorneys. It is unclear what the substance was, but considering it was Burger King, and it was near the restroom, one can draw their own conclusions.

The restaurant was accused of “failing to ensure that the area and floor of the business was free and clear of any hazards.” Subsequently, a Broward County jury awarded Tulecki $7.8 million in damages, including $3.35 million for lost earnings and $700,000 for medical expenses. That’s a lot of Whoppers, and maybe a few chicken fries.

Tulecki’s attorney said this via Fox News:

“Delivering this verdict to our client means everything,” said H Ross Zelnick, one of the personal injury attorneys representing Tulekci. “Our client suffered tremendous hardship due to the Defendant’s negligence. While no verdict could undo those damages, it will provide him and his family with the resources to move forward.”

It was one of the biggest verdicts of its type in state history, so Tulecki and his family will have plenty of resources and free Whoppers moving forward, even after his attorneys take their bite of the Whopper. Though with a perforated bowel, he might want to skip the flame broiler.

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The franchisee, Seven Restaurants, is not satisfied letting Tulecki have it his way. They have filed a motion for a new trial.

Seven Restaurants, the owner of the Burger King franchise, filed a motion for a new trial on May 19, alleging Tulecki presented “virtually no evidence” that the restaurant’s manager had knowledge of the purported “foreign substance” that caused Tulecki’s slip and fall injuries. The motion called the $7.8 million award to Tulecki “clearly excessive.” 

The personal injury attorneys key piece of evidence was the gastrointestinal damage they alleged was suffered in the fall. It is unclear how anyone could damage their colon from falling down, unless years of eating Burger King actually contributed to it. Apparently, the firm the plaintiff hired is very good at what they do and pulled off the connection. That key connection was enough to sway the jury. Or they were McDonalds fans. Remains to be seen.

Ginnis & Krathen attorneys said linking Tulekci’s slip and fall to his gastrointestinal issues was a “crucial factor” in the “whopper” of a verdict.

“Our decades of trial experience, limitless financial and intellectual resources, along with our dedicated team of lawyers, paralegals and medical experts, allow our firm to go toe to toe with billion dollar insurance companies,” said Zelnick.

The  insurance company only offered $200,000 to go toward medical bills, and ultimately that is what caused the case to go to trial and Burger King to lose his crown. Perhaps they franchisee shouldn’t have went with The General?

“The insurance company denied any wrongdoing and offered only $200,000 to settle this case. We chose not to negotiate with this unreasonable insurance carrier. Together with our client we had our day in court,” said Miguel A. Amador, a top Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer.

We live in an overly litigious society, but we also live in a society where unscrupulous insurance companies are constantly screwing deserving victims. Whatever the case here, whether the plaintiff was deserving of that much money,  the insurance company that short changed Richard Tulecki caused the franchisee to take a massive hit. Perhaps Burger King needs a new insurance carrier, and the restaurant in question needs to keep the floor clean and dry before the next victim gets it his way too.

Hopefully Tulecki makes a full recovery, and perhaps starts to eat a little healthier. Burger King might not be the best choice moving forward.