Premises Liability - Trip and Fall Injury
WRSH Partner, Kenneth J. Halperin recently obtained a $315,000 settlement for a 66 year old woman who was injured while walking in a parking lot. On the date of her accident our client was exiting a department store and was walking to her car. As she was walking through the parking lot she stumbled on a portion of broken and unleveled pavement. She did not fall, but as she stumbled she wrenched her lower back and aggravated a pre-existing condition to her lumbar spine. Our client had an extensive history of lower back pain, but had been pain free for approximately six (6) months. As a result of the accident, she had to undergo a micro diskectomy to her lumbar spine. This was followed by approximately six (6) months of physical therapy and a reasonably good recovery.
During discovery we conducted a deposition of the manager of the parking lot. We were able to get this witness to admit that he was aware that during the winter months the parking lot pavement would frequently become broken up due to the weather conditions and create a tripping hazard. However, instead of repairing these conditions in the winter with temporary asphalt (plaintiff's accident occurred in January) they waited until June to inspect the parking lot. Then, among other areas, they repaired the very location where the plaintiff was injured.
Thus, ken was able to convince the defendant that a jury would likely find in our favor because they knew of potential problems in the parking lot, but chose not to address them until the Summer.