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Premises liability - Trip and fall due to defect in curbing - Fractured ankle - Back surgery.

Middlesex County

This was a premises liability action tried on liability-only. The female plaintiff tenant contended that the defendant landlord negligently allowed a defect in the curbing of a common area to go uncorrected. The plaintiff alleged that as she stepped off the defective curbing, she tripped and fell. The plaintiff maintained that she suffered a fractured ankle and back injuries requiring surgery as a result of the fall. The defendant landlord contended that the plaintiff’s injuries were the result of her own negligence.

The evidence revealed that the plaintiff was a tenant living in an apartment complex owned and operated by the defendant. The plaintiff testified that when she stepped off a curb in a common area, a defect in the curb caused her to trip and fall.

The plaintiff claimed that she fractured her ankle as a result of the fall and that she also suffered back injuries requiring surgery as well.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff had not been paying adequate attention when she stepped off the curb, causing her fall. The defendant maintained, therefrom, that the plaintiff’s injuries were the result of her own negligence.

The jury found that there was a defect in the curbing, but that it was not a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

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