On a cold January morning with freezing rain, a worker slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot at his work in Brockton, Massachusetts. He suffered serious injuries to his knee and back. With the help of our experienced Framingham injury lawyers, this injured worker received a total of $175,000 in compensation.
The Slip and Fall Accident at Work
The morning of this worker’s accident started out just like every other day. He woke up early, carried out his normal morning routine, and headed off to work. He drove from Ashland, Massachusetts in the freezing rain with some sleet to his work in Brockton. This worker parked his car in his usual spot, gathered his belongings, and walked through the parking lot toward the building to start his day.
While walking across the parking lot, he slipped and fell on a dangerous sheet of ice mixed with some light snow. He hit the pavement hard and was in immediate pain. He managed to get back up to his feet, gathered his belongings, and carefully made his way into the building. His supervisor was there, and this worker reported his accident and injuries right away.
Overview of the Injuries Suffered in the Slip & Fall
After the fall, our client’s injuries were evident. He had a sharp pain in his knee and his lower back was in a lot of pain. He left work soon after reporting his fall and went to the emergency department of a local hospital. At the hospital, this worker was diagnosed with a lumbar strain and a left knee injury. The emergency room doctor suspected a ligament injury to the knee and recommended seeing an orthopedic surgeon.
Our client then came under the care of an orthopedic doctor specializing in knee injuries. The orthopedic doctor ordered an MRI of the worker’s left knee, which revealed a tear of the meniscus. After a short course of physical therapy, our client had left knee surgery.
Additionally, our client had significant pain in his lumbar spine. An MRI of the lumbar spine showed a disc protrusion with an associated annular tear. For several months, our client went to physical therapy and had epidural steroid injections in his lower back.
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claim
Since our client was at work and in the course of his employment at the time of his slip and fall accident, he was eligible for workers’ compensation in Massachusetts. Our client did the right thing by reporting his work accident immediately to his supervisor. As a result, his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company voluntarily paid disability benefits. Additionally, all the medical bills were covered by workers’ compensation for all his treatment related to his work accident and injuries.
The insurance company paid this worker weekly temporary total disability benefits during his treatment. After the knee surgery and making some progress with his lower back injury, however, the insurance company filed a Complaint to Discontinue or Modify the Benefits. Our Framingham workers’ compensation attorney, Chuck Pappas, was able to successfully defend the Complaint, which resulted in the worker continuing to receive his weekly workers’ compensation checks.
After the litigation on the workers’ compensation claim, Attorney Pappas was able to recover a $50,000 lump sum settlement for his client.
The Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuit
In addition to the workers’ compensation claim, our client had a third-party personal injury claim. Our Framingham personal injury lawyers have vast experience handling slip and fall accidents and spent considerable time and effort investigating this accident. Our investigation revealed that the owner of the commercial property failed to properly maintain the business location and failed to use reasonable care regarding hazards from snow and ice.
Generally, in Massachusetts a worker who is hurt on the job cannot sue their employer for the work-related accident and injury. However, if a third party is responsible for the accident and injuries, the worker has the option and ability to pursue additional compensation from the negligent third party. In this accident, the commercial property was owned by an entity that was separate and apart from his employer – a third party. Therefore, our client desired to pursue a third party personal injury lawsuit against the property owner.
During the discovery phase of litigation, evidence revealed that the property owner contracted with a snow and ice management company (i.e., a plow company). Further discovery and investigations uncovered careless snow and ice management practices by this plow company. This plow company was then added as a defendant to the case.
Through extensive litigation methods and the use of experts, our injury litigation lawyers were able to mount a strong case of negligence against both defendants – the commercial property owner and the plow company.
A property and snow management expert retained by our lawyers provided an assessment of property and wintertime maintenance for the subject parking lot. This expert found that the property owner’s failure to properly inspect, maintain, and repair the walking surface of the parking lot coupled with the failure to mitigate the formation of ice from the freezing precipitation created a dangerous condition in the parking lot.
Additionally, our accident attorneys retained an expert meteorologist that provided the specific weather conditions for the vicinity of Brockton, Massachusetts around the time of our client’s slip and fall accident. This expert found that the weather conditions varied between 20 degrees and 45 degrees within this timeframe. Specifically, the temperature during the morning of the fall was approximately 29 degrees with rainfall and slight snowfall. This evidence was crucial to establish that the defendants knew or should have known about icy and hazardous conditions on the subject premises.
Faced with this convincing evidence, the defendants agreed to attend mediation to avoid a trial. At the mediation, Attorney Pappas was able to secure a settlement of $125,000 to compensate our client.