Premises Liability – $375,000 | Allen and Allen

Premises Liability – $375,000

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SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS IN ALL CASES DEPEND ON VARIOUS FACTORS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. THEREFORE, PAST RESULTS IN CASES ARE NOT A GUARANTEE OR PREDICTION OF SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES WHICH THE ALLEN LAW FIRM AND ITS LAWYERS MAY UNDERTAKE.

Location: Albemarle County, Virginia
Verdict: $375,000

Our client was an independent contractor hired by a property manager to paint a residential unit. Another independent contractor had just mopped the stairs in the same building, but hadn’t put down any warning signs, or otherwise notify occupants that the stairs were wet.

Our client experienced a slip-and-fall accident and badly injured his shoulder. The treatment plan included an $80,000 surgery plus medications, totaling $105,000. The case was contested on liability and damages.

The defendant’s insurance company provided a top offer of $22,000, which was then withdrawn after opposing counsel sent the following to Richard in June:

“Given the proximate cause issue, (the insurance company) has authorized me to re-offer the $22,000. The offer will expire at noon on Monday. Without any proof of proximate cause, any future offers (if there are any) will be reduced by at least the amount (the insurance company) spends on the expert/drafting of its expert designation. I think (the insurance company) would be amenable to giving your client more time to consider if we can also agree to extend the deadline on the defendant’s expert designation.”

Armstrong did not respond, and a trial was set.

The defense hired a retired orthopedic doctor from Charlottesville to testify that surgery was not related to the fall. Armstrong used the doctor’s prior deposition testimony from another case to show that the doctor held different opinions previously. He also subpoenaed the doctor’s financials, which were very helpful to show the doctor’s bias in favor of insurance companies and defense firms.

But what may have been the most important, was the doctor’s own PDF entitled A Patient’s Guide to Rotator Cuff Tears,  which the doctor has since taken down from his website. There was quite a bit of helpful information in the document that Armstrong quoted back to the doctor, which he could not deny since it was his own publication.

The jury deliberated for about 1.5 hours before its $375,000 verdict. Armstrong alleged that his client suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing rotator cuff tear that required a reverse shoulder replacement.

Fortunately, the jury was able to see through the liability defense and the doctor’s true colors, thus providing a great result to a deserving client.