WRSMH Associate Ryan J. Lawlor Recently Settled a Case for $270,000. Our 72-year old client tripped and fell on a sidewalk in front of a defunct shoe store in Brooklyn. A specific section of sidewalk, known as a "flag" in DOT terminology, was slightly raised in comparison to the adjacent sidewalk causing a hazardous defect to pedestrians who passed in front of the store. While walking to her home, our client tripped on this defect causing her to fall forward. In an attempt to break her fall she extended her right arm which bore the brunt of the impact. As a result, she sustained a fracture of the right wrist which was confirmed by x-ray at the hospital. She underwent surgery to set the fracture which included the permanent placement of a metal plate and screws in her wrist.
Our firm alleged that the owner of the property adjacent to where our client fell was responsible pursuant to a 2003 law. The law, commonly known as the "sidewalk law", places responsibility on most property owners for defective or hazardous conditions on the sidewalks directly adjacent to their property. In order to succeed in the case our firm had to prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the hazardous condition that caused our client to fall. Through sharp and successful questioning at a deposition of a representative of the property owner, the representative admitted that he regularly inspected the property on routine basis. Armed with this admission, it was extremely likely a jury would have found that the defendant should have known about the hazardous condition despite denials to the contrary.
Shortly after the deposition, the parties explored potentially settling the matter. After back and forth negotiations, Ryan secured a settlement of $270,000 to compensate the now 77-year old plaintiff for her injuries.