Back Injuries That Go Way Back

Revealing Accident History Helps Win Case

The plaintiff allegedly sustained personal injuries as the result of a slip and fall on snow and ice in a housing authority parking lot. The plaintiff, a tenant, brought claims of negligence and breach of contract, claiming that she injured her back and neck and suffered severe headaches. Discovery revealed the plaintiff had a long history of prior back ailments and injuries dating back to the 1960’s. Also, the plaintiff’s records reflected subsequent injuries, including a fall from a ladder and a fall down stairs while intoxicated. At trial, the plaintiff testified about her prior history of back problems but claimed that the underlying accident required new and different treatment in the form of facet block injections, which she claimed that she had never undergone before the accident. On cross-examination, the plaintiff was confronted with medical documentation that contradicted this claim, and she admitted that she underwent facet block injections prior to the accident. We also focused on the reasonableness of the housing authority’s action. The executive director testified about the authority’s general maintenance procedures and snow plan. Work orders were introduced to show that snow removal operations were undertaken a few days before the accident. Finally, we elicited from the plaintiff that the parking lot was cleared following the prior snow fall and that she did not have any difficulty walking to her assigned parking spot earlier that day. After deliberating for one hour, the jury returned a defense verdict on both counts.

Other Cases / Wins: Premises Liability