Technician Falls Down Staircase
GWC’s client was a 46-year-old union electrician at the time of the incident and a proud member of IBEW Local 21 for many years. In December 2012, he was called to service a cable and internet box inside the trapdoor basement of a building in Chicago, IL.
At that time, the building’s janitor led the technician down a poorly lit basement staircase. His left foot then stepped where a section of the staircase tread was missing, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the basement floor.
Fifteen Months of Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tear
The client sustained a full-thickness rotator cuff tear in the anterior aspect of the supraspinatus tendon of the left shoulder. When conservative treatment failed to alleviate his pain and suffering, he underwent surgical intervention in the form of an arthroscopic repair with subacromial decompression and debridement in August 2013.
Following a course of physical therapy, the client was released back to work on a full-duty basis in March 2014, having completed a total of fifteen months of medical treatment.
Defense Moves for Summary Judgment
The technician retained GWC as his personal injury attorneys. The firm filed suit against the owner of the building and the tenant who was under lease for the grocery store where the basement was located. Mr. Amato and Mr. Jacobs alleged that both parties bore responsibility for the client’s injuries because he had been led down the poorly lit, damaged staircase where he fell.
The tenant agreed to a settlement prior to trial, but GWC faced strong opposition from the building’s owner, who filed a motion for summary judgment in an attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed.
“The Defense argued that our client should have noticed and appreciated the damaged staircase tread and that he should have used a flashlight,” said Mr. Amato. “They also insisted that the building’s owner could not have known about the defective condition on the property.”
Defense’s Arguments Successfully Countered
Mr. Amato and Mr. Jacobs countered that the Defense’s arguments were greatly diminished by the fact that the telecommunications technician was taken downstairs by the building’s janitor, who worked for and was acting on behalf of the Defendant owner. GWC argued that the client would naturally have trusted a building employee to guide him safely to the basement.
Additionally, GWC asserted that the building’s owner would have or should have been informed by the tenant or building employees of damages to the property since his approval would have been required before any repairs were made.
Moreover, GWC got the owner to admit during a sworn deposition that he visited the property on a weekly basis, so he should have been aware of any defective conditions like the missing staircase tread and had a duty to make sure that they were remedied.
In light of GWC’s arguments, the judge dismissed the Defense’s motion for summary judgment, clearing the parties to proceed to trial.
GWC Obtains Large Verdict at Trial
Prior to opening statements, the Defense attempted to resolve the matter with a proposed settlement of $75,000.00, a number that was raised to $325,000.00 before closing arguments. GWC rejected both offers and pursued the trial to its conclusion.
Based upon the strength of the case that Mr. Amato and Mr. Jacobs presented, the jury decided in the client’s favor, awarding him a verdict of $563,711.57. The amount of the verdict was even more impressive given the fact that the client had reached maximum medical improvement and returned to work nearly eight years earlier.
Have You Been Injured on Defective Premises?
Building owners must adequately maintain their properties in a safe condition in order to ensure injuries do not occur – safety should always come first. When they breach that duty, the injured party might be able to pursue a claim for financial recovery. To help increase the chances of a successful outcome, many victims of negligence over the years have reached out to the premises liability attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation necessary to get you and your family the justice you deserve.