Slip and Fall Case Settles for $50,000
Our client was seriously injured after falling down a flight of stairs at the defendant’s apartment complex. As a result of the fall, our client sustained, among other injuries, a closed fracture of right ankle, requiring surgery and placement of plates/pins.
It was our client’s position that after she lost her balance, she reached out and grabbed the handrail to help prevent her from falling. Unknown to our client, the lower bottom of the section of the rail was rusted and it broke loose and wobbled. Furthermore, that this movement prevented her from being able to catch herself from falling.
After settlement negotiations reached an impasse, we filed an Orange County Superior Court case and the action moved its way towards trial. We argued that California law is well settled that the owner of an apartment complex has a duty to maintain the stairs and rail in a safe condition. It was defendant’s obligation to reasonably inspect the premises, notice the rusted or broken railing, and then replace the railing so that this exact kind of fall does not happen in the first place.
The defendant argued that it did not have reasonable notice of the rusted and compromised rail. Furthermore, that its employees did in fact do safety inspections each month and were prepared to present signed monthly inspection sheets to support its position. It’s also interesting to note that the premises liability experts for both sides had different opinions as to (1) whether or not the rusted rail should have been noticed and (2) how long the rail was actually rusted and (3) whether or not our client would have been able to prevent herself from falling regardless of the condition of the rail.
It is noted that almost 100% of our client’s medical bills were covered by health insurance and the matter was amicably settled during a court ordered mandatory settlement conference which took place shortly before trial.