Client was walking on a sidewalk when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice that had accumulated in front of the apartment complex in which she lived. The ice was covered by a light dusting of snow on top of the ice. The fall happened in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The client suffered a three-part fracture her right ankle which required immediate open reduction and internal fixation surgery. The surgery resulted in the placement of five permanent screws and a number of plates in the ankle. Client was completely non-weightbearing for one week and had severely reduced mobility for three more weeks before returning to work in a limited fashion. She continued physical therapy until four months after the injury. Her medical bills totalled $26,571.59.
Prior to the incident, client was an athletic 25-year old woman who played soccer. Her injury has made it difficult, if not impossible, to return to full activity. Two years after the injury she was rated with a 14% impairment to her right lower extremity due to loss of ankle motion and atrophy.
The defendants initially disclaimed liability, the apartment owner and its snow removal contractor each charging that the other party was responsible for treating the icy conditions on the sidewalk in front of the apartment. Weather reports from the area showed three inches of snow falling the day prior to the injury, and temperatures below freezing on the day of the injury.
The accident lawyers at WilliamsFord hired a forensic architect expert who opined that on the day of the injury, snow had melted from the apartment’s roof into a drainpipe, and had refrozen below, at the spot where the client was injured. The expert was of the opinion that defects in the sidewalk and poor drainpipe placement caused roof runoff to collect at the point where the injury occurred. Tenants had complained of icy sidewalks prior to the fall.
After litigation was initiated, the case settled out of court against both defendants for $120,000.