Fort Lauderdale executive settles slip and fall case against her condominium association after breaking her ankle in the stairwell
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
A 37 year-old Fort Lauderdale executive suffered a broken right ankle when she slipped and fell in the stairwell of her condominium complex. She was on her way to work early one morning and was on her way down the external stairwell of her condominium when she realized that she forgot her coffee which was on the kitchen counter of her condo. She turned around and began walking back up the stairs when she slipped and fell forward onto the concrete steps. She immediately felt a sharp pain in her right ankle and knew she had a problem. She sat on the steps and remained there screaming in pain until another person who lived in the building came to rescue her. EMS was called and she was taken to the hospital from the scene. She was later diagnosed with a fractured right ankle.
The problem with the stairwell was that it was exposed to the external elements but did not have the type of surface meant for the outdoors. When it rained outside, the rain water would accumulate inside the stairwell and create a slipping hazard. The surface was not painted with a non-skid substance, which did not provide enough friction when wet. The combination of the water and the slippery surface created a dangerous condition which ultimately, caused our client to fall and break her ankle.
We made the claim against the condo association and eventually made a demand for compensation against the insurance company for the condo. Initially, liability was denied as the insurance company tried to argue that there was nothing wrong with the stairwell and that our client should’ve been watching where she was going. Luckily, we hired an expert the day after our client fell. Our expert was able to get out to the scene of the incident that day and conduct his own investigation. His investigation revealed that the stairwell was, in fact, excessively slippery and was not up to code. We presented our expert’s report to the insurance company with our demand. Faced with the denial of liability, our lawyers were prepared to file a lawsuit. We did not need to sue however as the insurance company decided to negotiate instead of defending a lawsuit.
Our lawyers were able to negotiate a settlement of $125,000.00 for our client. We were able to pay all health insurance liens out of the settlement and provide our client with over $70,000.00 in compensation for her inconvenience. Though the broken ankle presented a serious setback for our client, she reported gaining a sense of closure as the result of her settlement.