Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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A slip and fall case in the lobby of a woman’s office building resulted in a total settlement of $2.75 million. Litigation of the case revealed that the woman’s slip and fall was the sixth one to occur over the past four years and that the building landlord was well-aware of the problems of the slippery lobby floor. As a result of the fall, the woman suffered an actue ankle sprain that was later determined to actually consist of damaged ligaments and a questionable fracture of the ankle bone.

The woman’s injuries worsened over time. After the woman suffered from severe pain for a prolonged period, she was diagnosed with RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), which has recently been called CPRS (complex regional pain syndrome) by the medical profession. In an attempt to treat her RSD, the woman had a surgery to her ankle and then had a stimulator implanted in the ankle to attempt to interrupt the nerves that send pain signals to the brain. Unfortunately, the woman said that the stimulator wasn’t helping and that she continues to suffer from constant and severe pain. The injuries from the accident prevented the woman from working and had the same effect on her leg as if part of it had been amputated, except that an amputation would not have resulted the severe and constant pain the woman continues to experience.

The law suit filed by the woman alleged that the floor of the entrance to her office building was known to be slippery and wet in bad weather from the large number of people entering the building. The woman sued the company that provided facility management for the building, the company that provided janitorial services for the building, and the company that provided and placed floor mats in the building every other week. Settlement with the two of the three companies was reached during a mediation of the case (meeting with all of the parties to the lawsuit and an unbiased lawyer who discusses the case with the parties and their lawyers in an attempt to reach a compromise on the case), while the third defendant settled near the eve of trial.

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A Philadelphia union glazer, who fell from a ladder at a contruction site injuring shoulder and hip in New Jersey, was awarded $6.5 Million by Philadelphia jury. The union worker, Frank Voce, who was 49 years of age, required surgery for his shoulder and developed hip problems preventing his future employment. The injured worker was awarded $5 million and his wife received $1.5 million for her consortium claim (loss of spousal relationship). The 12 member jury was unanimous on the verdict.

Plaintiffs argued, and the jury agreed, that the general contractor of the construction site violated the New Jersey Uniform Building Code, Construction Safety Code and OSHA regulations beccause they failed to maintain proper worksite safety. This included the general contractor’s failure to ensure that ladders were only placed on flat surfaces. The plaintiff was aware of the danger but felt compelled to work because of fear of losing his job. The plaintiff placed his 10-foot ladder on lumber laid over an excavation in an unleveled area with trash and debris on the ground. Because of a recent rain, the ground was muddy and some leveling plywood slipped causing the ladder to fall while the plaintiff was working on it.

General contractors have an obligation to ensure a safe worksite for all subcontractors and individuals on the site. Additionally, general contractors must follow state and federal regulations overseeing their worksites. Although employees are generally prohibited from directly suing their employers because of workmen compensation laws, sub-contractors and others present on a worksite may still have the ability to bring claims for their injuries depending on who is responsible for the worksite. If you suffer a serious injury at work, you should immediately consult an experienced trial attorney to protect your rights.

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A Philadelphia couple was awarded $10 Million by a jury for a brain injury (closed head injury) caused when the husband was struck in the head by a piece of a falling door. During 10 days of trial, the jury learned that the 36 year old man was leaving a halloween costume store with his wife and daughter when the metal piece hit him in the head. As a result of the accident, the man suffered from headaches, an inability to sleep, dizziness, decreased concentration skills, trouble with processing words, depression and emotional instability. He became a loner who experienced emotional outbursts and a short temper with his family and employers. He lost his job developing computer software and was fired from the next three jobs he tried to hold, ultimately resulting in unemployment. His entire family was suffering from his injuries and a vocational expert testified that he was unemployable.

Before trial, the couple was offered $25,000 to settle his case, although this offer was increased to $500,000 during trial. The couple had demanded $5 Million, in part because expert testimony in the case demonstrated that the man would lose between $2.6 Million and almost $4 Million in future earnings because of the injury. Although the settlement offers were low, the defendants admitted responsiblity for the accident, but argued that the man was not seriously injured and could have continued in the job he had at the time of the accident. The jury’s verdict was $8 Million for the man and $2 Million for his wife.

This case demonstrates the importance of hiring a skilled trial attorney who will not simply settle your case at the first chance. Experienced trial counsel will prepare a case for trial, hire competent experts, and be willing and able to go through a lengthy trial to get an excellent result. At the Law Office of Leon Aussprung MD, LLC, you will get an experienced trial attorney who stands ready to try cases when a fair and reasonable settlement cannot be reached.

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A 5 year old boy drowned at a Maryland counrtry club because safety rules were not followed. Recently, a jury awarded the parents of the child $4 million after they successfully sued DRD Pool Service Inc, which was the country club’s pool management company. The pool management company was found to have not adequately trained its lifeguards and to have not adequately staffed the pool area. This is a typical example of the obligation of property owners to provide proper safety precautions for individuals using its services.

In this case, a 16 year old was on lifeguard duty when the child’s body was found floating in the outdoor pool. The child had been playing in the pool with two other children and an adult friend. The lifeguard had only been working at this job for three weeks prior to the incident. In Maryland, only one lifeguard id required for ever 50 swimmers. The family is advocating more stringent rules requiring a lifeguard for every 25 swimmers. The family has set up a foundation in memory of their son and they are working with Maryland lawmakers to improve state safety rules for all pools.

This type of tragic case happens far too frequently every summer. Even when lifegaurds are present and all safety rules are followed, tragedy can occur. Unfortunately, pools are often staffed by young and experienced lifeguards, who are not adequately trained and do not always follow the necessary safety rules. These mistakes are rarely admitted to by the institutions owning the pools. Frequently, the true reason why such deaths occur are not uncovered unless there is litigation and in-depth discovery conducted by a qualified attorney, as this case demonstrates.