In February of 2017, our client was walking on the sidewalk with her son in Brooklyn. As she was walking passed the defendant’s store, she slipped and fell on ice. In the city of New York, if you fall on the sidewalk it is important to know who is responsible for maintaining or taking care of that sidewalk. Generally, if the sidewalk is in front of a business, the owner of that business or property will be responsible for keeping the sidewalk safe. In the case of our client, she fell in front of a grocery store. As a result, the store owner and owner of the building were responsible for the care of the sidewalk.
Winters in New York can be downright dangerous. Therefore it is imperative that store owners have good snow and ice removal procedures. In this case, it snowed about seven inches the night before the accident. Upon arriving to work, the sidewalk was shoveled as it should have been. Unfortunately, for our now injured client, there was never salt placed on the sidewalk. Simply shoveling a sidewalk is not enough. It must be treated for the ice that is there, or the ice which may form. Melting and refreezing is very common on New York City sidewalks. That is how the ice formed in this case. As the injured person began walking with her son, she slipped on ice which would not have been there if the sidewalk had been properly salted.
As a result of this slip and fall accident, she sustained a broken lower leg/ankle and torn rotator cuff in her shoulder. Initially, the doctors were optimistic. They hoped that if she stayed off her feet, her ankle and shoulder would eventually heal without surgery. Unfortunately, this was not the case. After months of conservative care, the doctors had to operate. They performed a procedure called an “open reduction internal fixation surgery”. This meant that the doctor used plates and screws in order to secure the bones in place. While the procedure can be very painfully, it is also very effective. After a few additional months of healing, she was able to walk on the ankle again. Although her ankle was healing well, her shoulder continued to worsen. This was especially difficult because prior to the accident the injured party was a home health aide. In order to perform her duty, she had to be able to assist and lift her patients. Since the injury occurred, this was no longer possible. With hopes of her shoulder healing, she underwent an arthroscopic surgery to fix her torn rotator cuff. Shortly after, she had one additional surgery to remove the hardware from her leg. As a result of the injury and the multiple surgeries she has not been able to work at all since the accident.
The defendant (store owner) claimed that he did nothing wrong. He felt that he had cleared the sidewalk properly and that this was an unfortunate accident which was nobody’s fault. During the discovery phase of the case, a video was produced of the accident. In the video it was very clear that the injured party fell on ice. More importantly, the defendant had claimed that he salted the sidewalk. However, the video showed no evidence of salt. Further, the video was produced by the defendant himself. Had he salted the sidewalk, there would have been footage of this as well.
Despite his obvious negligence, the defendants would not make a fair settlement offer so we took the case to trial. Prior to the trial the defendants had offered $525,000. While this is certainly a large sum amount of money, it simply was not adequate for our client’s injuries. We also made it clear to the defense attorney exactly how we would prove how much suffering our client had endured, and we would make it painfully obvious how their client was at fault. We began the process of getting a jury. Just as we started to pick, the defendants finally met our settlement demand and paid $800,000. As often happens, if you show you are prepared, organized and ready to fight for your client till the verdict, it can make a huge difference in your lawsuit.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident, please reach out to us for a free legal consultation by calling 24/7 at 212-514-5100, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our law firm in Lower Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions through the 24-hour chat box on our website (www.plattalaw.com). We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.
The Platta Law Firm, PLLC
Slawomir W. Platta, Esq.