Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Foot stuck on wax led to fall, plaintiff claims in suit against hospital system, management company

State Court

By John Breslin | Nov 4, 2019


BELLEVILLE - A man who claims he was injured after slipping on the floor of a health facility is suing the owners, various linked entities, and a management company charged with maintaining the building.

Larry Zipfel claims negligence caused him to slip on a wax-like substance during a visit to the Prairie Heart Institute in Belleville, part of the Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), which also runs St. Elizabeth's.Hospital in Maryville.

Zipfel filed suit Oct. 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against the entities and management services company, Sodexo, following the alleged slip and fall on Oct. 23, 2017.

A spokesperson for HSHS in Southern Illinois said the hospital could not comment on pending litigation. 

Zipfel alleges that, after taking the elevator to the second floor of the Prairie Heart building, he checked in at the front desk and was eventually escorted to a place where his blood was due to be drawn.

While walking along a corridor, the complaint states that the plaintiff's foot "stuck to a wax or wax-like substance on the floor," which caused Zipfel's foot to slip out of his shoe and led to him falling to the ground.

The plaintiff claims he "suffered injuries to his left wrist, right elbow, right arm, and right knee including a fracture to his right knee." Complications arising from his injuries led to surgery. He also also claims to have lost wages from his employment.

Zipfel is accusing the health system and the management services company of negligence for allowing the floor to be in an "unreasonably dangerous and defective condition."

He specifically claims the defendants "negligently applied or allowed an accumulation of a wax or wax-like substance to develop on the surface" of the floor, failed to remove it and did not warn the plaintiff and others. He is seeking in excess of $50,000.

The plaintiff is represented by Kevin P. Etzkorn of Etzkorn & Etzkorn in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-738

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