On November 5, 2018, a 57 year old female who suffered a knee injury requiring five surgeries as a result of a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk settled her case in the middle of a jury trial in Brooklyn for $900,000. The plaintiff was walking on the sidewalk late at night in Queens when she slipped on snow and ice in front of the defendant's vacant house. The defendant was a real estate investment group that bought residential homes at auction and flipped them. (The defendant LLC was no longer in business at the time of trial and had a one million liability insurance policy.)
Photographs taken the day after the accident revealed that every house on the block had a clean sidewalk except for the defendant's. A Weather Report revealed that the accident occurred three days after a 7 inch snowfall with continuous freezing temperatures since. The defendant argued that the photographs could have been taken in front of other similar houses and that they always maintained clean sidewalks. However, there was no other evidence supporting the property manager's claim that he always promptly shoveled the sidewalk within a few hours of a snowfall. The current owner of the house testified that she bought her house from the defendant and that the photograph's did indeed depict her house and the sidewalk.
The plaintiff complaining of severe knee pain, was removed from the accident site by an ambulance and following emergency room treatment was discharged as x-rays of the knee were negative. Follow up visits to an orthopedist for knee pain and limited range of motion resulted in two arthroscopic procedures within the first year after the accident. One year after the second scope, a total knee replacement was performed due to osteoarthritis in two compartments. Five months later the hardware failed and the plaintiff had to undergo a second total knee replacement. Since the plaintiff was unable to fully extend her knee, she required a manipulation of the knee under general anesthesia. The defense orthopedist had stated that all surgeries were unrelated to the accident and due to a pre-existing condition of osteoarthritis. The parties reached a settlement of $900,000 after three days of testimony. Atkinson v Madison 3 Partners, LLC., Sup. Ct. Kings County, Index # 6650/14