It is often difficult for some to keep their balance simply walking down the street, especially the elderly. Now imagine that you had to do the same on a slick surface without falling. Sadly, many people experience a slip and/or fall on a daily basis. Unfortunately, some slip and fall events can result in serious injury and pain, particularly for older seniors who may be more susceptible to major fractures of hips and other bones. Property owners, like stores, hotels, and other businesses must be careful to avoid creating or leaving dangerous conditions which may trip customers or cause them to fall. With simple care, slip and fall cases can be easily avoided.
According to an article in Virginia Lawyers Weekly, a settlement of nearly 2 million dollars was recently reached in a personal injury, slip and fall case. On the way to visit her cousin, the plaintiff noticed the ground and surrounding lawn to be wet. Not giving it a second thought, she entered her cousin’s apartment for a short visit. After the plaintiff’s visit, she left the apartment complex where she slipped and fell, seriously hitting and twisting her left knee. After her fall, the plaintiff realized that the algae had been growing on the sidewalk in the standing water, a problem that, according to her cousin, has existed for a while. In fact, the cousin had reported the growing algae two times previously, with little action from the apartment complex. The only record the defendant had of trying to fix the problem was maintenance documentation of creating a ditch along the sidewalk to try to drain the standing water. The algae problem has been created over the years as the sidewalk slowly began to sink and become level with the lawn. When it would rain, the runoff from the lawn and building would build on the sidewalk causing algae to grow in the sitting water over time.
Due to the fall, the plaintiff experienced orthopedic pains and had to undergo four surgeries to her left knee. Fortunately, her knee is now stable. However, she did experience complications during her second surgery, which left her with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) causing chronic pains to her injured knee. The plaintiff went through a number of treatments for the pain, making her medical bills skyrocket. Due to the development of RSD, the plaintiff was no longer able to keep her job, and forced to look elsewhere for employment, resulting in a large “future wage loss.”
The defendant claimed that the plaintiff was being negligent because she had admitted to noticing the algae when she was walking on the sidewalk before her injury. The defendant further argued that the pain the plaintiff was experiencing was a result of her mishandled diabetes rather than the fall. The insurance defense attorneys often make this kind of argument saying we are not at fault, but even if we were negligent, so were you the injured person, and by the way you were messed up before we hurt you.