The plaintiff, a 36 year-old male, was hired to paint the exterior of a home, along with the trim at a private residence located in Newton, Massachusetts. He was also asked to reinstall the storm windows of the home after he had finished painting. As the plaintiff was carrying one of the storm windows across the property, his foot came into contact with a raised section of a flagstone walk leading to the exterior stairway. He was caught off guard with the sudden change in elevation and was unable to stop himself from falling forward. As he fell forward, his left arm struck the edge of the storm window pane, which severely lacerated his wrist. The plaintiff required immediate medical attention for his injuries. After being seen by a doctor, the plaintiff was told that he needed two major surgical procedures to treat his injuries. The doctors ultimately diagnosed the plaintiff with complete ulnar nerve paralysis in the distal forearm and hand.
The injury to the plaintiff’s left arm was permanent and impacted the plaintiff’s ability to work. Furthermore, its existence was not disputed by the defendants’ insurer. However, the insurer did not agree with other aspects of the plaintiff’s story. Particularly, the defendants’ insurer did deny that any dangerous or defective condition on the property caused the plaintiff’s injury. Specifically, the defendants’ insurer denied that the flagstone walkway leading to the exterior stairway on the property was dangerous or defective. Therefore, the defendant’s insurer argued that they should not be ordered to compensate the plaintiff for his injuries. However, the plaintiff’s counsel disagreed with the insurer’s conclusion. The plaintiff’s counsel was able to successfully demonstrate to the defendant’s insurance carrier that the highly uneven condition of the flagstone walkway was, in fact, both defective and dangerous to visitors on the property. Furthermore, the plaintiff’s counsel argued that the flagstone walkway would likely be regarded as dangerous and defective by a jury at trial. The insurer then had to decide whether to begin negotiating with the plaintiff’s counsel or risk going to trial.
The case was eventually settled during pretrial negotiations between the insurer and the plaintiff’s counsel. The plaintiff was awarded a total of $325,000 for his injuries.
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