Earlier this year, a woman from Staten Island won $4.1 million in damages for her personal injury claim against a condominium development and the management’s contracted maintenance company. The win came more than four years after the event of the slip and fall accident itself, which took place in January of 2009.
Loreley Pollack suffered severe injuries when she slipped and fell on snow and ice at the Holiday Villas condominiums; she had been on her way to visit a neighbor, when she slipped on ice that had not been removed from the steps leading from her patio to the walkway. As a result of the fall, Mrs. Pollack suffered multiple spinal fractures in the fall, and had to undergo surgery. Ultimately, she is permanently disabled, unable to perform activities that require heavy lifting or prolonged walking, sitting, or standing. In addition, she will be suffering from chronic pain for the rest of her life. Under the bylaws set forth by the condominium, the homeowner’s association and the managing agent were responsible to clear snow on the streets, walkways, and steps up to residents’ front doors.
Over the course of the trial, Mrs. Pollack’s attorney called upon a forensic meteorologist, who testified that just over 2 inches of snow had fallen the day before the incident, followed by a freezing rain early in the morning of the incident, which contributed heavily to slippery, icy conditions. In addition, a neighbor reported that the contractor didn’t remove any snow from Mrs. Pollack’s patio and little from her steps; the neighbor was quoted by Mrs. Pollack’s lawyer as saying the contractor did “a very sloppy job.” Mrs. Pollack and her husband both testified that the ice on the patio hadn’t been cleared, salted or sanded.
Part of Mrs. Pollack’s award from the jury included $2.6 million collectively for future pain and suffering, as well as medical and rehabilitation services. The panel, in state Supreme Court, found that the managing agent was 75% liable, while the contractor was 25% at fault. Typically, legal experts in the state commented, Staten Island juries are more conservative in their damage awards to plaintiffs; however, this particular case, with its emphasis on the long-term prognosis of pain for Mrs. Pollack, along with the severity of the suffering that she had already endured, apparently brought the jury to the consensus that a larger award was just. Although Mrs. Pollack is completely disabled, she can rest assured that she has some recompense for the injuries she received as a result of the negligence of the condominium development company and its contractor. Pollack’s attorney did point out that Florite, the snow-removal contractor, previously defaulted; however, there are expectations that Mrs. Pollack’s rehabilitation and continued treatment will be paid for by the responsible parties.
While slip and fall accidents due to icy or slippery conditions can seem funny on television or in movies, the truth is that these incidents often cause very serious injuries to those who are victims. In Mrs. Pollack’s case, in layman’s terms her back was broken—and she will feel the pain for the rest of her life. If you have been injured by a slip and fall accident due to the negligence of another party, it is a good idea to retain the services of a personal injury attorney quickly.