On Thursday, April 6th, 2017, a Bronx jury awarded a Lipsig, Shapey, Manus, & Moverman client $13 million dollars.
Her Future Forever Changed
The plaintiff is a 36-year-old woman who, before her accident, worked as a hairdresser. Now, thanks to the negligent decisions of others, she is unable to work.
In 2013, the plaintiff was visiting a friend in an apartment building. While leaving, she made her way down a set of stairs. Suddenly the stairs gave out beneath her and she fell all the way down the stairwell. When her descent finally stopped, she immediately knew something was very wrong and felt extreme pain in her legs.
Both of her legs were broken and one of her ankles was completely shattered in the fall. She was rushed to the hospital where it became clear that the breaks weren’t simple. Treatments have included several major surgeries, medications, and physical therapy. Even with all of this she still has constant pain and difficulty sleeping. But worse, she has been unable to complete the recommended physical therapy treatments because the medical bills have financially exhausted all of her and her husband’s funds.
It was this financial strain which caused the plaintiff to seek the help of Marc Freund, Esq. a partner at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus, & Moverman and one of Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”.
Mr. Freund Presented Her Case In Court
“This woman’s leg was shattered, along with all her hope and all her dreams,” said Mr. Freund when speaking of the accident.
One of the ways in which an attorney assists their client is to do a thorough investigation of the accident which caused the injury to their client. What Mr. Freund found and informed the court about, was shocking.
The building where the plaintiff fell was quite large, with 50 separate apartments and 7 commercial stores. Yet, the company that had been hired to manage the building had only put one superintendent in charge of making sure the building was in good repair. In addition to this assignment, he was also responsible for another building about a mile away.
The stairwell that she fell down was nearly a century old and in the six months before the accident, at least 11 individual steps required replacement. But the company only chose to replace the steps one at a time after it became obvious that there was an issue. As Mr. Freund pointed out, if the company had simply paid a few extra hundred dollars to have the entire staircase replaced, his client would never have fallen.
The superintendent even admitted during the trial that both he and his supervisor were completely aware of the fact that there was an issue with the stairs wearing out, but that the company wanted proof that a step had cracked before they would approve a replacement. But obviously, waiting for a crack put anyone going up or down the stairs at serious risk.
By the end of the trial, the evidence was enough to convince the jury that an award was more than appropriate, giving the plaintiff $13 million for her losses – $9 million for pain and suffering and $4 million for her medical expenses and lost wages.
You can read more about the case which was featured on LexisNexis, here.
This case is just one of hundreds of slip and fall lawsuits that are filed each year due to the negligence of property owners.
Mr. Freund Welcomed Into Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Premises Liability Cases
Under premises liability law, anyone who owns or is in charge of managing a property is expected to do everything that is reasonably within their power to makes sure the property is safe. What is considered reasonable changes from location to location since no two spots are exactly the same.
For example, it is completely reasonable to expect that a fast food restaurant would quickly discover that a patron had spilled a drink in the lobby and to not only clean it up but to place warning signs on the wet floor around the area. But it is not reasonable to think that a farmer who owns 600 acres would be able to inspect every inch of his property for potential hazards every single day.
When determining what is reasonable, several factors are taken into account:
- Why did the visitor enter the property?
- What is the property used for?
- Did the owner make reasonable steps to repair or warn visitors of the potential dangers of the hazards that caused the accident?
- Could the hazard have been discovered and corrected by the owner in a reasonable amount of time?
The bottom line is, whenever someone is injured on someone else’s property, they should consult with an attorney as soon as possible, because they may be owed significant compensation.