How A High School Slip & Fall Case Settled For $5 Million

It is no surprise that liability is a big issue in today’s lawsuit economy. People are suing at an alarming rate, resulting in new laws and an added sense of caution on the part of local business owners and government officials. After a high school administrator was awarded a $5 million settlement for a slip and fall injury she received in North Philadelphia, others are beginning to think about their own potential for lawsuit.

Administrator Gets $5 Million for Falling

The event in question occurred in 2012, at Mercy Vocational High School, when the director of career services was asked to unlock a classroom for one of the workers who had been hired to change the flooring throughout the building. As the administrator traversed the hallway she slipped on the transparent adhesive that the worker had just applied to the floor. She suffered nerve damage and was subsequently diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, a painful disorder that caused skin hypersensitivity. As she was no longer able to work and required 24 hour assistance after the accident, the woman had a case of negligence that resulted in a settlement with the flooring company before it could go to trial.

There were many things that were done wrong during the day in question, both by the school leadership, and the workers that were replacing the flooring that led to this case to be settled out of court in favor of the woman.

  • Lack of Verbal Communication: There was no clear indication that the Director of Career Services was notified about the work that was being done that day, in particular that the crew would be using transparent glue flooring that was slippery when wet. Not only should she have been told by the worker himself, she should have been provided a warning from her employer, the principal or lead administrator of the school.
  • Lack of visual alert: Just as people expect to see a caution sign after a floor has been mopped or a drink spilled in a public location, there should have been a sign announcing that the school floor was wet and those who passed through the hall should be careful, yet there was no indication in the civil filing documents that there was any signage provided.

How to Win a Slip and Fall Case

In order to successfully win a slip and fall case there is a burden of proof on the victim. With the following evidential proof, you can most likely guarantee a settlement on a slip and fall case:

Conditions were dangerous: There needs to be proof that conditions in the building were unsafe. Photographic evidence is beneficial, as are eyewitness accounts of the dangerous condition.

Injury resulted because of the dangerous condition and this injury led to a loss of some sort (health problems or financial problems resulted). Paperwork from doctor’s visits or hospital stays, rehabilitation notes, proof of loss of income, and the like.

The injury was a result of negligence on the part of the owner or a person associated with the cause of the accident. This simply means that there is proof that the accident could have been provided if the person or company being sued had followed the correct procedure for avoiding accidents. In the case above, if there had been signs or the worker had notified the woman of the dangerous floor then there might not have been a case of negligence.