EGH Attorneys Jason Tuttle and Katie King represented a young woman who fell on a defective exit ramp outside of a popular North Carolina bar, suffering a fractured foot that led to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”). The case resolved prior to trial for $425,000.
The night of her fall was the first time that Plaintiff had been to this North Carolina bar. She entered the bar through the back patio door. She exited the bar through a side exit door, which opened onto an asphalt ramp leading to the surrounding parking lot. Plaintiff contended that the ramp was a hidden and dangerous condition due to being indistinguishable from the parking lot below.
The ramp had no handrail, landing at the top of the ramp, or warning signs inside the bar as to its presence. The young female plaintiff walked out the side exit door and, unaware that she was on a ramp, immediately turned right to avoid walking into the lane of travel in the parking lot. In doing so, her right foot went off the side of the ramp resulting in a fracture to her fifth metatarsal.
Over he next several months, Plaintiff went on to develop Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. CRPS is a nerve disorder that causes long-lasting pain, usually in a hand, arm, leg, or foot. Plaintiff underwent implantation of a spinal cord stimulator, which provided only minimal pain relief. At the time of settlement, Plaintiff had been declared disabled by an Administrative Law Judge, with the onset of disability deemed to be the date of her fall.
The bar asserted two primary defenses. First that the ramp was an open and obvious condition. Second that Plaintiff was contributorily negligent. Both defenses were maintained up to the point of settlement, with no liability admitted throughout litigation.
Experts retained by Plaintiff who proved critical to the resolution of this case included professional engineer Steve Farlow, human factors expert Dr. Kevin Rider, and life care planner Julie Sawyer-Little.
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