After a favorable pretrial ruling, the plaintiff is expecting a large settlement from the YMCA in a slip-and-fall case.
Daniel Potter claims that the parking lot of the YMCA in Kingston was unfit for winter conditions and too dark to see the pavement, so he slipped on a patch of ice and fell, breaking four ribs and suffering a head injury. The YMCA had moved to dismiss Mr. Potter’s lawsuit, claiming that a sudden ice storm, which the fitness center could not control and was unrelated to inadequate lighting, was the sole proximate cause of his injuries. But the Third Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division disagreed, ruling that there were factual issues that a jury must decide.
The plaintiff’s attorney said he expects the case to settle for about $75,000, but lawyers for the YMCA vowed to continue fighting Mr. Potter’s claim.
It is quite common for there to be more than one possible cause for the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, in a car crash case, one vehicle may have been speeding while the other one made and unsafe lane change. In most instances, it is up to the jury, and not a judge, to determine legal fault.
One of the early cases on this point is 1920’s New York Central Railroad v. Grimstad. A barge collided with a tugboat in Brooklyn Harbor; the bump caused the barge’s captain to fall overboard. His wife, who was below deck, rushed up top to try and help her husband. She saw Captain Grimstad in the water, flailing his arms and calling for help, because he could not swim. Ms. Grimstad went back below deck to get a rope, but by the time she returned topside, Captain Grimstad “had disappeared.”
The jury could have found a number of parties responsible under a number of different theories. For example, the:
- Barge manufacturer could have been liable because it did not install safety rails,
- Tugboat could have been responsible because it collided with the barge,
- Captain’s wife could have been responsible because she did not find the rope quickly enough,
- Captain’s prior swimming instructor could have been responsible because the Captain did not know how to swim.
Based on the evidence, the jury concluded that the barge manufacturer was responsible, and the judge did not overturn that verdict.
An effective lawyer can present the evidence in a way that points the jury to a favorable conclusion. For a free consultation with experienced personal injury attorneys that use proven methods, contact our office. Home and hospital consultations are available.