$1,000,000 Settlement for Pedestrian that Fell Over Raised Sidewalk
Our unemployed client fell over a raised sidewalk flag injuring his neck, which required surgical intervention. Despite challenges in the case, including no neck complaints for weeks following the accident, a prior lawsuit for a neck injury resulting in a settlement for the same discs, amongst others, Plaintiff received a $1,000,000 settlement. He was represented by associate Joshua Stern and partner Daniel O’Toole.
At the time of the accident, our client was 44 years old and unemployed.
Description of Case
Plaintiff was traversing a sidewalk when he was caused to trip and fall due to a raised sidewalk flag. According to According to NYC Administrative Code § 7-210, abutting property owners of sidewalks in New York City are liable to injured parties for the property owner’s failure “to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition.” Defendant was such an owner. Through discovery, we uncovered that there was a prior accident at the sidewalk location and despite this knowledge, the sidewalk was not repaired in the ensuing months before Plaintiff ’s accident occurred.
Plaintiff was taken via ambulance to the hospital, where he initially made complaints about the lower left extremity. A few weeks later, he sought treatment with an orthopedist after pain in his neck and back worsened. During this visit, he complained of neck pain with radiation into his upper extremities. Most significantly, he experienced periodic numbness sensation extending to his fingers, on the left side. He subsequently underwent EMG/NCV testing which revealed left C5 radiculopathy consistent with his left-handed neurological complaints, and left L5 radiculopathy. He was recommended a course of conservative treatment, including physical therapy and pain management.
Physical therapy two to three times per week failed to provide relief. Likewise, a course of epidural injections provided only temporary relief. Despite this treatment, Plaintiff was still experiencing significant pain that interrupted his quality of life. Plaintiff began treatment with a spine surgeon given the failed conservative care. Surgery was discussed and after follow-up, the decision to proceed with Anterior Cervical Fusion and Discectomy was finalized. The surgery improved Plaintiff ’s cervical complaints.
We also alleged that the Plaintiff would be required to undergo lifelong medical treatment related to the injuries sustained in the accident. The Plaintiff was examined by a medical specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation. This specialist opined that the Plaintiff would require future treatment in the form of visits with a spine surgeon, musculoskeletal and pain specialist, physical therapy, MRIs, EMGs, and x-rays. He also opined that the Plaintiff would need medication to control pain and may require future spine surgery. The physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist also provided the current costs of the anticipated treatment and the inflation rates for these costs of medical care were determined by the Plaintiff ’s expert economist. The total cost of future healthcare was claimed as part of the Plaintiff ’s future economic damages. In the event the case had gone to trial, the Plaintiff also would have alleged economic loss for past medical expenses.
Defendants disputed both the injuries and damages claims with their own spine surgeon and radiologist.
It is noteworthy that Plaintiff had previously injured the same cervical discs involved in this accident, which also resulted in a lawsuit and settlement.
The parties resolved this case at private mediation for $1,000,000.
The case was handled by associate Joshua Stern and partner Daniel O’Toole.