$600,000 Recovery for Hip Fracture, Monmouth County, NJ

Premises Liability – Hazardous Premises – Failure of commercial landlord to rectify tripping hazard on sidewalk abutting premises caused by settling paving stones – Failure of borough to conduct periodic inspections non-withstanding knowledge of propensity of paving stones to settle – Hip fracture – 1/2 inch leg length discrepancy – Otherwise indicated hip replacement surgery precluded by unrelated health issues.

The Plaintiff, in her late 50s, contended that she tripped and fell over an approximate three-quarter inch height differential between paving stones and a utility box. The plaintiff contended that the pavers had a propensity to settle and that the borough, which installed the sidewalk seven to eight years earlier, should have conducted periodic inspections. The municipality concealed that it had not received any complaints and denied acting in a palpably unreasonable fashion. The plaintiff also named the abutting commercial landowner, contending that it should have recognized that a hazard was developing in the years since the sidewalk was installed.

The defendants maintained that the plaintiff failed to make adequate observation and was comparatively negligent. The plaintiff countered that the incident occurred at night when it was difficult to see the hazard.

The plaintiff suffered an intertrochanteric fracture of the right hip and underwent surgery. The plaintiff had a difficult course after the surgery, suffered a GI bleed, anemia and contracted a C-Diff infection.

The plaintiff was left with an approximate half inch leg discrepancy. The plaintiff contended that the hip replacement surgery, which would otherwise be indicated, cannot be performed due to unrelated health issues.

The case settled prior to trial for $600,000, including $125,000 from the borough (after motion for Summary Judgement denied), and $475,000 from the abutting property owner.