LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Jurors have awarded a New York medical student $3 million after she suffered a gruesome toe injury while riding an escalator at an Arkansas mall.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a Pulaski County jury ruled this week that 27-year-old Aisha Siddiqui should be granted the compensation after her foot was crushed at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock in December 2013.
Siddiqui's attorney, Denise Hoggard, told jurors that the aspiring surgeon's right big toe was ripped off when her foot was pulled into a moving escalator staircase. Siddiqui's foot was caught in escalator teeth in a gap caused by a break in the device.
"She's disfigured and it's going to get worse," Hoggard said. "It will affect every step she takes. Her pain won't lessen until the day she dies."
Rescue efforts were prolonged because firefighters hoped to save the toe so it could be reattached, so they couldn't administer pain-killing drugs until she was freed, leaving her to "write in agony," Hoggard told jurors.
Siddiqui filed a lawsuit 11 months after the incident.
The mall and escalator manufacturer Kone Inc. acknowledged fault for Siddiqui's injury ahead of trial. But the companies' attorneys suggested $500,000 would be "fair and reasonable" compensation.
Hoggard told jurors that the companies wanted to pay only a "bargain basement price" and were trying to reduce what happened to Siddiqui.
"This case isn't about a toe. It's about Ms. Siddiqui's foundation," she said. "It's her structural integrity. It's her stamina. It's her ability to go forward."
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com