7-Eleven pays $91M in storefront crash settlement


Dive Brief:

  • 7-Eleven has agreed to pay a settlement of $91 million to a Chicago-area resident who lost both of his legs after being struck by a vehicle outside a 7-Eleven store in September 2017, according to an announcement from the law firms involved in the case.
  • Lawyers found that over 6,200 storefront crashes had occurred at U.S. 7-Eleven stores between 2003 and 2017. Since 7-Eleven hadn’t taken any steps to reduce these instances during this period, the court granted the plaintiff’s request to seek punitive damages against the Irving, Texas-based company, the announcement noted.
  • The court case underscores a larger, more alarming trend of storefront crashes occurring at convenience stores — which happen as often as 20 times every day in the U.S., according to the Storefront Safety Council.

Dive Insight:

The announcement noted that 7-Eleven not only operated with negligence after experiencing thousands of storefront crashes, but also tried to withhold this crash data in court, claiming these instances over the course of 15 years “lacked sufficient foundation” to establish similarities to the most recent incident.

However, the victim’s attorneys successfully argued that the previous instances were not only similar, but also show “the existence of a particular danger or hazard, namely, 7-Eleven’s storefront parking design,” the announcement stated.

The case noted that the plaintiff was hit outside of a 7-Eleven store in Bensenville, Illinois, after a driver drove onto the sidewalk and pinned the plaintiff against the building. The crash resulted in bi-lateral, above-the-knee amputations of both legs.

Although the driver had no ties to 7-Eleven, the court ruled that 7-Eleven had a duty to install bollards — protective posts usually made of metal or concrete — for the safety of individuals on its property.

“As long as 7-Eleven refuses to place bollards in front of its stores to prevent these crashes, people will continue to be seriously injured or killed,” Joseph Power, founding partner for Power Rogers LLP, one of the law firms representing the plaintiff in the case, said in the announcement.

Larry Rogers Jr. and James Power of Power Rogers, along wth Louis Berns of Favil David Berns & Associates, also represented the plaintiff.

A spokesperson for 7-Eleven said in an email that the retailer is “heartbroken by this tragedy,” and its thoughts continue to be with the victim and his loved ones.

“It is important to note that this unfortunate accident was caused by a reckless driver who pled guilty, and this store followed all local building codes and ordinances,” the spokesperson said.

7-Eleven’s latest $91 million settlement is the largest pretrial recovery for an injured person in Illinois history, according to the report.

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