Our 40-year-old client tripped and fell into a divot (broken gap) in a cement walkway leading from a parking garage to a well-known Queens housing development. At the time of her accident, it was raining and rainwater filled the large divot, concealing it from obvious view. As our client opened the door from the parking garage and stepped out, her foot fell into that hidden gap, and she lurched forward into the wall, striking her right side.
The water had pooled at this doorway because there was a clogged drain nearby on the walkway. The plaintiff had noticed this before and complained about it to the building. The defendants disputed that complaints were ever made. They also argued that if the plaintiff knew of the cement walkway defect, she could have and should have avoided it.
After striking the wall, the plaintiff felt pain in her right hip and drove herself to the hospital. An MRI of that hip showed tears, and 10 months after her accident, the plaintiff underwent an arthroscopic hip surgery to shave down the tears and promote healing with a technique called micro-fracture surgery. After surgery, her hip got progressively worse and the plaintiff developed post-traumatic arthritis, which caused her debilitating pain. After avoiding another surgery for years, she was forced to undergo a total hip replacement almost four years after the accident. The defendants argued the hip replacement four years after the fall was not related to the fall.
WRSH partner William Hepner handled all stages of litigation in the case, including defending an appeal in the Appellate Division, Second Department, dealing with the discoverability of the plaintiff’s prior drug use. Bill also mediated the case more than a year prior to the trial date in an attempt to settle.
When it became clear that the insurance company was not taking the case seriously, and offered only $175,000 to settle, the case was reassigned for trial to Brielle C. Goldfaden. A few weeks before jury selection, Brielle was able to settle the case for $635,000.