Woman Suffers Broken Ankle After Heel is Caught in Crevice on Old Wooden Floor

Plaintiff, a 33 year old woman, was injured when the heel of her shoe became caught in a crevice on a wooden floor at a trendy Manhattan restaurant. Her ankle twisted severely as a result of the floor, causing a trimalleolar break of the bones of her ankle. This resulted in surgery to install hardware, and two subsequent surgeries to remove the hardware.

Unfortunately, there was no photograph of the exact defect which she stepped in, but plaintiff described what it looked like, and there were photos of the way the floor looked in general. The floor was worn, and we elicited testimony at a deposition that the defendant had filled in gaps in the floor in the past, proving they had knowledge that the floor had to be maintained.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff had a significant amount to drink, that her high heels were the cause of the accident, and there was no proof that her heel got caught in any crevice, especially since there was no photographic evidence of the defect.

The defendant further argued that plaintiff had made a good recovery, had missed very little time from work and only had a few months of physical therapy. However, despite defendant’s arguments, WRSH Partner, Bill Hepner was able to convince the defendant to pay a substantial amount of money at a mediation by assuring them that at trial he would turn their arguments around by proving that the bar enticed a clientele to wear high heels and that a bar, which is in the business of serving drinks, would be hard pressed to argue that our client’s few beverages at the bar should be held against her as opposed to the bar that was serving her. Moreover, the restaurant chose to have an old wooden floor that was not smooth, and was a trap for unwary heel-wearers. Bill Hepner settled the case at mediation for $425,000.

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