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Three Million Dollar Settlement: In March of 2020, our client was descending the stairs in her apartment building. The stairway was extremely dark, with shallow steps that were covered in dark, worn carpeting, with only one banister. This combination created a camouflaged slipping hazard. When our client reached the stairs between the second and first floors, she slipped, fell back, and slid down the steps, landing with her leg bent beneath her. This slip and fall caused serious and permanent injuries and damages, including a torn tendon, serious ankle sprain, patellar tendonitis, contusions, lacerations, PTSD, severe nerve damage, and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)—all of which could have been prevented but for the apartment owner’s and management company’s negligence in failing to maintain the building.

“When our client came to us, she had just gotten out of surgery from this terrible fall, so we met her at her apartment to complete our intake and view the stairs where the incident happened. There was no question that these were some of the worst steps I had ever seen. In fact, I almost fell trying to get pictures of them during my investigation,” Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway Partner and Trial Attorney Prince P. Holloway explains. “During my investigation, I discovered that there was another woman who had fallen and suffered an injury that resulted in surgery, so this wasn’t an isolated incident. The apartment management company even had an online portal where tenants could submit work requests. Between June of 2019 and July of 2020, there were over a dozen complaints about lighting, dangerous and dirty carpeting, and other hazards. Had they taken these complaints seriously, our client would not have been exposed to these unsafe conditions and their injury would have been avoided.”

Holloway brought in fellow Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway firm Trial Attorney Kristin Buddle to work together on the case, and Buddle hit her stride immediately. She brought in an expert engineer to examine the stairs. In Philadelphia, stairways must meet the Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code and the International Fire Code. The engineering expert found it in violation of both. First, the stairway was steep with small tread depths. That, combined with bad lighting, a slippery carpet, and a single handrail with an insufficient grip, created a series of safety and engineering compliance violations. “One of the most noteworthy parts of the investigation our engineer performed,” Buddle explains, “is that he had to pull out a flashlight to read the measurements on his instruments—that’s how dark it was in this stairway.”

With expert testimony acquired, Holloway and Buddle filed a lawsuit. The defendant in the case, however, did not make the process easy. Instead, they delayed at every turn. Motion after motion had to be filed, and Buddle had to fight to get documents to support our client’s claim. While our client simply wanted enough money to go to a CRPS clinic for unique pain management treatment, she was forced to wait, unable to work her dream job as a physical therapy tech because of her permanent disability. Buddle’s work, however, never waited.

“We met with a vocational expert, life care planner, and economist. The vocational expert agreed that she was fully disabled, and her disability benefits were approved due to the extraordinary pain she was experiencing because of the CRPS. The life care planner calculated the amount of money our client would spend on future medical expenses, and the economist examined our client’s future wage loss. It became clear that the insignificant amount our client wanted just to go to a CRPS treatment facility was nothing close to the millions of dollars she deserved for future treatments and future wage loss. Most importantly, the defendant had nothing to rebut our experts. The jury was going to be on our side.”

What started as Holloway and Buddle’s client asking for thousands of dollars became a three million dollar settlement offer from the defendant. “After countless delays, we started negotiations with the defendant on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. We were scheduled to begin trial on the following Tuesday. Fortunately, we were able to push the Defendant to make an offer that would fairly compensate our client for the lifelong suffering she will be forced to endure. Our client’s condition is never going to get better and that knowledge, coupled with our expert evaluations, were the catalysts for the value we received.”

Their hard work paid off in the best of ways. When Holloway and Buddle called their client together, she cried happy tears. Buddle adds, “We work so closely with our clients. In this case, we were making phone calls and talking to our client at all hours of the day and night because we had to work around her schedule and her pain. We felt her agony every time we spoke, but she was always positive, and she always knew we were going to get her the results she deserved,” Buddle explains. “We work with our clients like they’re family. They have our cell phone numbers. They text us. They call us when they need us. We celebrate their birthdays, we get to know their families, and we become a part of each other’s lives. Here, we were able to not just give our client, but also her mom, the good news that her daughter’s suffering was not in vain. That the negligent parties responsible were being held accountable.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident that you believe was caused by negligence, Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway wants to help. Our consultations are free to ensure you can share the details of your case.

Contact us today.