Recent settlement: $150,000

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Recent settlement: $150,000

I recently reached a personal injury settlement for $150,000 for a woman who slipped and fell in a pizza parlor. The insurance company initially took a “no pay” position and claimed that it would be impossible for me to prove my case.

My client walked into the restaurant just after it had begun to rain. As she approached the counter, she slipped and fell on the wet floor. The restaurant had not put out any mats. She immediately felt a stinging pain in her left knee, but figured the pain would go away. She told the manager that mats should be put down so that no one else would fall, but was brushed off. She got some pizza and went home.

Serious injury

About eight hours later, the pain was unbearable. She went to her local Emergency Room. X-rays showed no fractures. She was given some painkillers and told to follow up with a specialist regarding a possible MRI. She ultimately had an MRI which showed she had a torn meniscus. (The torn meniscus could not have been picked up in an X-ray because X-rays only show bones, not soft tissue such as tendons.)

Insurance Company’s Defense

Suit was filed against the pizza restaurant and its insurance company began defending the case. It had four arguments:

  1. Your client is lying. We did put out mats.
  2. Even if we didn’t put out mats, we had no duty to put out mats because it had just started raining. Therefore, your case should be dismissed.
  3. Your client’s injury was pre-existing and caused from years of working as a housekeeper.
  4. Your client made a good recovery and doesn’t deserve much money.

The lawyers for the pizza restaurant moved for summary judgment on the grounds of argument #2. This means that they asked a judge to decide that the case should be dismissed because of a legal concept called duty. In any injury case, there must be a duty, whose breach results in an injury. If there is no duty, then there is no case.

On the night before the case was to be argued, the insurance company for the pizza restaurant realized it had losing factual and legal arguments. It agreed to settle the case for $150,000.

Ways to help you win

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, take photos at the scene that show the dangerous condition. Whether you fell because of a wet floor, a broken step, or something else, try to get photos from several different angles so that a jury and a claims adjuster could understand why this accident wasn’t your fault. It’s important to get the photos immediately, before the property owner has the opportunity to fix the problem (and then argue that it never existed).  Try to get the names and contact information for any witnesses.  Most importantly, after any injury, call the team that has your back – call the LAW TEAM!  212-LAW-TEAM.

 

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About Matthew Haicken

I have been practicing personal injury and insurance law since my graduation from law school in 2007. In addition to years as a practicing lawyer, I also spent three years working at a large insurance company where I worked with excellent lawyers from around the country. This experience has proven invaluable. I gained insight into how insurance companies evaluate claims, and I learned the tactics they employ to fight personal injury lawsuits. I enjoy helping people through difficult situations and making a positive impact on the lives of my clients. When not practicing law, I am actively involved in NYSTLA, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. We are a group that lobbies on behalf of injury victims. I believe the courthouse doors should be open to everyone, regardless of his or her immigration status, or financial situation. I am committed to fighting for a strong civil justice system that enables people who have been harmed to hold wrongdoers accountable.

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