Slip, trips and falls account for approximately one-third of all personal injuries in the workplace. They remain a top cause of workers’ compensation claims. An accident at work can occur at the least expected moment. This is what happened to a delivery man injured while making a delivery to a contractor who managed food services for an airport. The worker stepped into and fell over an uncovered hole, suffering bilateral tears on his shoulder and knees. The injured worker was not able to return to work. He filed a Workers’ Compensation claim with his employer’s insurance, which paid out partial lost wages and covered the necessary medical treatment. The worker’s injuries required extensive treatment and physical therapy.
Injured Worker’s Lawsuit for Falling Accident
The injured worker of the slip, trip and fall accident sued the owner of the premises and tenant contractor. He argued the defendants negligently failed to provide proper maintenance of their parking lot. This resulted in a missing sewer grate in an area of the parking lot where people would walk through. The evidence revealed that the incident occurred in the rear part of the parking lot. Deliveries are normally made here. The plaintiff mentioned surveillance cameras covered this area. So, Plaintiff’s counsel sent a certified letter three days after the incident advising the defendants to preserve the surveillance video footage of this area for the day of the fall. The plaintiff contended that despite timely notice, the defendants did not preserve this footage.
Defendants’ Argument on Liability
The defendants argued that the area of his fall was not within the field of view that was captured by the video surveillance camera. Therefore, there was no evidence to preserve. The defendants additionally claimed that the alleged defective condition, involving an approximate two-foot in diameter hole, was open and obvious. That means the worker was at fault as he did not avoid stepping into it. The injured worker countered that he was in the process of performing his job duties, delivering products to the defendant’s facility and argued that his failure to observe and avoid the hole under these circumstances was understandable. Also, the plaintiff presented a co-worker who testified observing a missing grate on prior occasions. Plaintiff further showed testimony from defense employees that other grates in the parking lot previously turned up missing.
Plaintiff’s Injuries from Slip Trip and Fall Accident
Due to his accident, the plaintiff suffered bilateral shoulder and bilateral knee tears in the fall. His injuries required four arthroscopic surgeries. An arthroscopy is a type of surgery where a surgeon makes a small incision and then passes the arthroscope through the skin into the joint. A special camera sends the images to a television monitor. Possible side effects of arthroscopic surgery include a small risk of infection and blood clots.
Moreover, the procedure does not stop the progression of osteoarthritis. Symptoms of the disease are likely to return over time and surgical realignment or replacement of the joint could ultimately be necessary. Here, the plaintiff suffered injuries to both his shoulder and knees in a prior accident in 2000. They involved arthroscopic surgery to both shoulders. At that time, he also declined undergoing suggested bilateral knee surgeries after this previous accident.
Defendants’ Argument on Damages
The defendants in this action maintained, that any difficulties the plaintiff is currently experiencing stemmed from these prior injuries. The plaintiff countered that he had no symptoms for many years. In addition, he was able to perform his delivery duties at work without any difficulties prior to the incident. The plaintiff contended his injuries rendered him permanently unemployable. The plaintiff complained that everyday activities with his family are painful and difficult. He testified that he has problems with extending shoulders, kneeling, squatting, climbing up stairs and prolonged walking. The case settled prior to trial for $2,250,000.00
If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip, trip or fall accident, please contact The Platta Law Firm. We are always available for a free legal consultation. Give us a call at 212–514–5100 (24/7), emailing [email protected], or visiting our law firm in Financial District of Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions using the 24-hour chat box on our website. We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.