On May 24, 2011 the firm’s 41 year old female client (an independent cleaning contractor) went to the Defendants’ vacation home located in the Poconos to perform interior cleaning services. After arriving in the morning and cleaning the inside of the home with several other workers, the client exited the front door of the home, took a few steps and slipped and fell to the ground on the middle landing of a railroad tie and slate staircase located between the driveway and the front door. It had rained the day before this accident and the wood and slate walkway was damp and covered with moss and wet leaves which made it very slippery.
In the years prior to this accident, the Defendant homeowners, had landscapers perform exterior “clean-ups” in the fall and spring months. By the Defendants’ account there was a fall clean-up of leaves and debris in November of 2010. The spring clean-up was scheduled by the Defendants to take place after the interior cleaning by the client. The professional engineer retained by Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP opined that the client’s accident was due the Defendants’ negligence in that (1) The staircase had no railings; (2) The walkway steps were not uniform in height or dimension; and (3) The Defendants allowed debris to remain on the staircase and moss to grow on the steps which created a foreseeable hazardous condition which caused the client’s serious injuries. Defendants retained their own engineer that opined that the Defendants did nothing wrong to cause or contribute to the client’s injuries.
The client sustained severe injuries to her right ankle which were diagnosed by her orthopedic surgeons as a tri-malleolar fracture. The client underwent two separate surgeries, the first to reduce the bones and stabilize them with plates and screws and the second a year later to remove the hardware from her right leg. The uncontested past wage losses in the case were approximately $7,500.00 and the outstanding medical bills were approximately $20,000.00. The client had several injuries to both of her legs before this accident.
The Defendants’ contested liability but the case was eventually amicably resolved in the amount of $155,000.00.