An Arkansas jury has awarded an aspiring surgeon $3 million five years after a mall escalator ripped off and mangled her right big toe.
Per KATV, Aisha Siddiqui, 27, filed a lawsuit 10 months after the December 2013 incident at Park Plaza mall. Surveilance cameras caught the moment when Siddiqui’s toe became trapped in the machinery; her lawyer claimed the step somehow dropped below the combed teeth, trapping the woman’s boot.
“When her foot was lodged in there and was being drug forward, the machinery inside that escalator ground her toe up into hamburger meat,” attorney Denise Hoggard told jurors, according to the news station.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the lawyer said Siddiqui went without pain-killing drugs as firefighters freed her and attempted to reattach her mangled toe. She also said Siddiqui permanently lost her right big toe and had to put her medical studies on pause for years as underwent a grueling recovery.
While the mall and escalator manufacturer, Kone Inc., admitted fault, they offered Siddiqui $500,000, maintaining it was adequate compensation for her future income as she had recently graduated from college when the incident occurred.
The lawsuit argued that the manufacturer was aware of patrons’ clothing becoming caught in the escalator before the December 2013 ordeal. KATV reported that Hoggard said the escalator was built in 1988 and that it wasn’t equipped with modern safety features—including an automatic stop which can detect when an item becomes stuck.
The attorney went on to mention that the escalator has since been outfitted with safety features.
According to the Democrat-Gazette, Hoggard also claimed her client is in pain on a daily basis and can expect to be in increasing agony for the rest of her life. The lawyer said she’s forced to walk on the side of her foot and twist her knee and hips, adding that a prosthetic only offers a cosmetic solution.
The dozen-person jury deliberated for two hours Wednesday before a nine-person majority found Siddiqui was entitled to $3 million for her past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and disfigurement.
“I never wanted to to be involved in a lawsuit, and I had to relive this horrible experience when I testified about it. It was never about the money,” Siddiqui said in a statement provided to KATV. “I did this because they were telling me this was my fault and I knew it wasn’t. My hope is that this will go a long way to helping keep public safety in the minds of companies responsible to protecting us all.”
[Featured image: KATV video screengrab]