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ARTICLE ID 168927

$________ GROSS Premises liability - Hazardous premises - Plaintiff contractor falls down hazardous staircase - Severe brain trauma.

Cook County, Illinois

The male plaintiff in this case contended that the defendant homeowner’s stairway presented an unreasonable risk of harm because it was unprotected and located less than five inches from a doorway. The defense argued that the residence was newly constructed and built in full compliance with applicable building codes, that the condition did not present an unreasonable risk of harm, and that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent.

On November 8, ________, the then 69-year-old plaintiff was a window treatment installer working at the defendant’s residence in Glencoe, Illinois when he exited through a side door and fell down an adjacent stairway. He sustained a traumatic brain injury, 13 skull fractures, severe cognitive and behavioral deficits, impaired executive brain function, hearing loss, impaired speech, memory impairment, emotional dysfunction, loss of balance and coordination, impaired vision, confusion, depression, sexual dysfunction, disorientation, and inability to orientate to reality. His medical bills amounted to $________. The plaintiff presented medical testimony from his treating neuropsychologist and his rehab/physical therapist and expert testimony from an architect. He maintained that the defendant was negligent for failure to warn of a door opening in close proximity to a staircase and failure to protect from risk of harm.

The defense presented testimony from an architect who stated that the building complied with building codes.

The jury was presented with two questions: "Was there a condition on the property which represented an unreasonable risk of harm?" and "Did the defendant know or in the exercise of ordinary care should he have known of the condition and the risk?" They answered "Yes" to both questions, finding for the plaintiff and awarding $________ reduced by 50% for the plaintiff’s contributory negligence.

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