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Premises Liability: Flower Pots Blocking Handrail for Steps

Settlement Awarded to Plaintiff: $1,250,000


In this premises liability case a 59-year-old man, with several medical conditions and issues, tried to pay his rent. However, when obeying a notice on the usual payment box to pay rent in the office, it was Premises Liability: Flower Pots Blocking Handrail for Steps -- Altizer Law, P.C.necessary for the plaintiff to relinquish his grasp on the handrail while he climbed the exterior five steps to the rental office.

The plaintiff had no choice about holding on to the handrail upon reaching the top step because two-foot wide flower pots were positioned at the front corners of the landing, making it impossible for him to grasp the railing. Plaintiff was aware of the issue based on previous ascent of the stairs.

On this occasion, plaintiff ascended the steps, using the handrail. Upon reaching the flower pots, he let go of the handrail to navigate around the flower pots. Upon ascending the top step, plaintiff lost his balance and fell forward onto his knees.

When examined in the hospital emergency room, his diagnosis was bilateral non-displaced fractures of the knees. Due to the plaintiff’s existing medical conditions, including anti-rejection medications related to two previous organ transplants, the orthopedic surgeon treating him decided upon a non-surgical approach to treating the fractured knees.

Roughly three weeks after emergency room treatment, the fractures were discovered to be displaced. This occurred due to plaintiff’s failure to follow the instructions of the surgeon. Other medical providers confirmed a pattern of failure to follow instructions from doctors.

Fourteen months after the event, the plaintiff filed a complaint against the building owner and the property manager for negligence and negligence per se as cause of his injuries. Defendant contested liability, as well as the location of the flower pots, entering as evidence pictures of the flower pots placed in the back corners of the landing.

Employees of the defendants offered conflicting testimony regarding the location of the flower pots in depositions. Subsequently, plaintiff provided surveillance photographs taken over the course of several months which clearly demonstrated the location of the flower pots at the front of the landing. Further, plaintiff presented the opinion of a biometrics expert. This expert argued that the plaintiff’s fall was due to a combination of shifts in weight while moving laterally around the flower pots and attempting to climb the last step.

Two months later, the case was settled in mediation for $1,250,000.

Property owners and managers bear the responsibility for maintaining safe conditions on their properties. In addition to ensuring that no large flower pots block access to handrails on stairways, property owners and managers are responsible for any unsafe conditions on their property.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner or manager, you may be entitled to appropriate financial compensation. Call upon the trusted attorneys of Altizer Law, P.C., to take your case to trial or mediation and fight to obtain the largest financial settlement appropriate under Virginia Law. Our offices are located in Roanoke, but our clients are located throughout central and southwest Virginia.



Danger On Deck – Premises Liability Alert