$1,200,000 Settlement for Client Who Tripped and Fell While Walking Into Her Workplace

A dental assistant was walking into her workplace at 114 West 71st St. in Manhattan, which required her to walk down three steps from street level to the building entrance. In between the bottom step and the landing, her foot caught on the corner of a depressed drain, causing her to trip and fall. She sustained significant foot and ankle injuries that required surgery. Represented by our firm, she received a $1.2 million settlement.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Queens County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
Plaintiff was a 48-year-old dental assistant on the date of the accident.

Description of Case
The accident occurred in the morning at Plaintiff's workplace, 114 West 71st Street in Manhattan. Plaintiff was on her way to work as a dental assistant when she was injured while walking into the building. To enter her workplace, she needed to walk down three steps which led from street level to the building entrance. At the base of the three steps there is a drain surrounded by tiles, which is not easy to see when one is walking down the steps. As Plaintiff stepped down from the bottom step, her foot got caught in the drain, causing her to trip and fall. Plaintiff claimed the drain was not even with the tile surface, and that there was no drain cover. Further, it was apparent that there had been failed attempts to repair the area surrounding the drain, illustrating that the building was aware of this issue.

Defendant claimed the drain was not in disrepair and that it could be clearly seen; therefore, Plaintiff tripped of her own accord. Further, Defendant claimed there were railings to descend the stairs that Plaintiff could have utilized to safely descend.

Injuries and Damages
Plaintiff claimed to have sustained significant and permanent right ankle and foot injuries as a result of the accident. Plaintiff went to an Urgent Care facility on the date of the accident and obtained X-rays of her right ankle, confirming a fracture of the distal fibular shaft at the level of the ankle mortise. When the pain and inability to bear weight became progressively worse two days later, Plaintiff went to the ER at LIJ Hospital, where she was admitted.

She received an MRI at the hospital that illustrated an acute oblique aortic fracture through the distal right fibula, which required surgery on her right ankle consisting of an open reduction and internal fixation. Post-operatively, her ankle continued to cause significant pain, swelling, and restricted Plaintiff's ability to walk. A second surgery was performed, consisting of an arthroscopic hardware removal. Six months later, due to continued pain and instability, a third surgery was performed consisting of an arthroscopic debridement and right lateral ankle ligament reconstruction.

The defendants argued that Plaintiff's prognosis was excellent, and that she had regained full range of motion, strength, and sensation in her ankle. Defendants argued that recent radiographs proved the fracture had healed. Further, Defendants argued that no further treatment was necessary; Plaintiff could return to employment and engage in daily life without restrictions.

Plaintiff alleged approximately $250,000 in past medical bills.

Settlement
This case settled for $1,200,000.

Handling Attorneys
This matter was handled by Partners Stephen J. Murphy and Michael J. Hurwitz.