Attorney James C. Wood successfully obtained a defense verdict in Bristol Superior Court in a matter arising from a tenant’s slip and fall on snow and ice at Attleboro Housing Authority.
The plaintiff, a 59-year old female tenant, alleged that she left her apartment to bring her trash to the dumpster when she slipped and fell on ice. As a result of her fall, the plaintiff claimed she sustained a fracture of her left wrist, right hip and shoulder injuries. Immediately following her fall, the plaintiff was brought to a local hospital and underwent ORIF surgery to repair the left distal radius. The plaintiff submitted medical bills totaling approximately $26,000.
Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Housing failed to properly treat the snow and ice in the subject area. In particular, plaintiff’s counsel argued that Housing maintenance personnel should have used sand to treat the area in addition to using ice melt.
Attorney Wood argued that housing maintenance had properly treated the area. He offered testimony from two maintenance workers and supporting maintenance records showing that housing personnel and outside vendors had treated the subject property with ice melt and sand on a regular basis. Attorney Wood further argued that one maintenance worker had been outside treating the property at the time of plaintiff’s fall and was able to assist her after she fell. Moreover, Attorney Wood argued that plaintiff was aware of the surface conditions and failed to exercise due care for her own safety. Lastly, Attorney Wood used plaintiff’s medical records to show that she was taking various medications at the time of her fall and that one medication caused the plaintiff to sometimes suffer dizziness. The plaintiff admitted to same during cross examination.
Prior to trial, the parties agreed to the submission of an affidavit, rather than requiring live testimony from a hospital billing coordinator, relative to the actual amount paid by the plaintiff for medical services rather than the gross amount billed. Attorney Wood submitted an affidavit from a hospital billing coordinator relative to plaintiff’s surgical bill in the amount of $20,715. The affidavit outlined the actual amount or “range of payments” the hospital would have accepted was between $280 – $307 and not $20,715.
After deliberating for approximately thirty-five minutes, the jury returned with a verdict in favor of the defendant, Attleboro Housing Authority.