ACL Tear Personal Injury Case
Jury Verdict – ACL Tear – Slip and Fall – $247,000.00
Reported in the Lawyers Weekly
The plaintiff in this case worked two jobs as a part-time security guard and a district supervisor for a newspaper distributor. In early 1992, the plaintiff was forced to deliver newspapers when one of his employees left the company. During the early morning hours and while walking down steps, the plaintiff slipped on the next to last step resulting in a twisted knee and a collision with the sidewalk. The plaintiff immediately reported this to his employer, and in turn scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic physician. The doctor ordered an MRI which revealed a past injury of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee which the plaintiff sustained nearly 15 years earlier.
Due to the extent of the injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, the plaintiff was advised to undergo two surgeries. A year later, doctors who were treating the condition agreed that a knee replacement would be needed in the near future. When the trial date arrived, the plaintiff noted that his medical bills had totaled nearly $40,000, and that he had not yet looked into the knee replacement due to his young age.
Two years after the incident the plaintiff’s employer at the newspaper offered him another, less stressful position at the same rate of pay. The plaintiff decided against this, and instead returned to work at his second job.
During the four day long trial, liability was argued. The counsel for the plaintiff hired an architectural expert to examine the steps. During this time the expert found that the steps had deteriorated, and that the problem had been evident for quite some time. This led to the landlord receiving constructive notice.
At the same time the counsel for the defendant argued that the plaintiff should have been aware of the defect in the steps because of his frequency at the location.
In a related circumstance, a few months prior to the plaintiff’s fall, the landlord had repaired other steps on the property. In addition, there was significant testimony at the trial regarding the overall condition of the building and its codes. To combat this, the defendant’s counsel presented documents from the town that stated the property was free of hazards and was in safe working condition.
During the case the plaintiff argued that no matter the injuries, old or new, that they were caused by the fall. On the other side of things, the defendant argued that past medical documents showed that the injury to the anterior cruciate ligament was preexisting. Even more so, the defendant argued that since the employer offered another job at the same pay, loss of wages should not be considered.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $335,000 after hours of deliberation. All in all, the net amount received by the plaintiff was $247,000.