A lot of people come in to see us after they’ve fallen on someone’s property. Those are called premises cases. We have a lot of experience handling these types of cases. We’ve been doing them for 37 years.
A woman came in. She was in her late 60s. She had been visiting a good friend of hers. She normally came in through the garage entrance. On this particular day, she saw some circulars or some flyers lying at another one of the entrances to the house, so being the good friend and neighbor that she was, she went over and picked them up. Instead of going back the way that she had, back towards the garage entrance, she walked down the front steps.
The front door had not been used in over a decade, and the concrete blocks leading up to the front door had moved and shifted so that there was a pretty significant gap. She was looking down the stairs making sure she doesn’t step off the stair and then is confronted immediately with this big difference in elevation between the blocks that had shifted. There was a big crack, stumbled over that, and sustained a very, very serious ankle injury requiring surgery with plates, and pins, and screws, just an ugly injury with ugly scarring.
Again, the woman had come in very reluctant. This was her friend. This was her neighbor, really didn’t want to file a claim. We had a conversation. At the end of the day, she decided that because of the seriousness of the injury and the fact that this defect in the sidewalk had been there for so long that she was going to pursue a claim.
We were able to get her a very, very nice recovery. The defect to the sidewalk was very, very clear, was very, very obvious, really couldn’t be disputed. They always argue that she should have seen where she was going, and our argument to rebut that was well, you don’t want her to fall off the steps. She’s looking at the difference of the steps really not expecting to see this broken, big crack in the middle of the sidewalk when she’s making sure that she doesn’t fall off the steps. We were able to persuade them about the validity of this type of argument. We were able to sustain a very, very good recovery for this woman. She was very happy.