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US Tennis Association held responsible for player's slip and fall

In 2014, Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard was ranked No. 5 in the world. In 2015, she suffered a head injury in a slip-and-fall accident in a locker room. She says she isn't the same player she was before that fall. She is currently ranked No. 116 worldwide.

The cause of that slip-and-fall accident was before a jury recently. Bouchard claims that the floor in a physiotherapy room at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens was wet with cleaning fluid. This was, she claims, due to the negligence of the United States Tennis Association, which owns the facility, or its staff. Under the law of premises liability, property owners and managers can be held liable if they fail to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.

According to her testimony, Bouchard decided to take an ice bath at around 10 p.m. during the 2015 U.S. Open, which was being held at the tennis center. Two steps into the training area, she suddenly lost her footing and fell, striking the back of her head on the floor. She described her shock at finding herself "staring at the ceiling." She also described feeling the burning sensation of cleaning solution left on the floor.

Bouchard had been a Wimbledon finalist in 2014, but she now says she's not the same player. After her fall, which caused what she described as a serious head injury, Bouchard had to withdraw from the remaining events in the U.S. Open even though she was still in contention. She also had to skip subsequent tournaments in Japan and China.

The USTA defended itself by claiming that the cleaning staff thought all the players had left for the evening. Moreover, the group said, Bouchard should have known not to go into the locker room unaccompanied at that time of night.

The jury determined that the USTA, as property owner, was 75 percent responsible for Bouchard's injury. Bouchard herself was 25 percent responsible. A separate phase of the trial will now be held to determine Bouchard's damages and what amount the USTA will have to pay.

If you have been injured on another party's premises, you may be able to hold the owner, manager or another party responsible if their negligence caused your accident. You should have your specific case evaluated by a personal injury attorney.

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