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$________ GROSS Premises liability - Fall down - Trip and fall over medical scale - Negligent positioning of scale in hallway - Shoulder fracture and dislocation - Rotator cuff tear - Shoulder surgery performed - 35% comparative negligence found.

Delaware County, PA

The plaintiff was a 76-year-old female who was accompanying her husband to a doctor’s appointment when she tripped and fell over a large weight scale. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant, who employed the physicians and operated the medical facility, was negligent in placing the scale in a hallway where it constituted a tripping hazard. The defendant maintained that the scale was not a tripping hazard and was open and obvious.

The plaintiff testified that a medical assistant called them from the waiting room and was leading them to an examination room. The plaintiff was walking behind the medical assistant and her husband when she tripped and fell over the scale. The plaintiff contended that the scale was negligently placed in the hallway just around the corner from the patient examination room and could not be seen until turning the corner before the examination room. The plaintiff’s engineer testified that the scale created a tripping hazard and violated OSHA standards.

The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff sustained a fracture and dislocation of her right shoulder and a rotator cuff tear as a result of the fall. The plaintiff underwent physical therapy, open shoulder surgery and more physical therapy. She testified that she has recovered approximately 80% of her pre-fall status, but still suffers some residual shoulder pain.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff had been to the medical offices many times and was aware of the location of the scale. The defendant’s engineer testified that the scale was open and obvious, was not a tripping hazard and did not violate OSHA standards.

The jury found the defendant 65% negligent and the plaintiff 35% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages, which was reduced accordingly. The defendant offered $________ to settle the case prior to trial. The defendant’s motion for new trial is currently pending.

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