Personal Injury, Broken Right Fibula, Torn Muscles, Tendons, and Ligaments
Injuries: Broken Right Fibula, Torn Muscles, Tendons, and Ligaments
Facts and Claim of Liability:
On the morning of December 6, 2007, at approximately 7:15 a.m., plaintiff was driven to defendant high school by his father. After exiting the vehicle and walking through the front gates of the school, plaintiff began to walk down a curving, declining ramp that led to the entrance of the school. However, as he was walking along a curve, he suddenly slipped and fell, instantly breaking his right fibula (calf bone) and tearing muscles, tendons, and ligaments. A school security guard who had witnessed plaintiff’s fall rushed over to assist him. Ultimately, the paramedics were called, and plaintiff was taken to Sound Shore Medical Center in an ambulance. It was later determined that plaintiff had slipped on some black ice that was on the ramp, although security guards had told the school’s custodial staff earlier that morning that the ramp needed to be salted and / or sanded (as it had snowed the previous two days).
At Sound Shore Medical Center, plaintiff was told that surgery and orthopedic hardware (screws and plates) were necessary. After the surgery, plaintiff remained at home for six weeks. He could not attend school, and initially had to wear a boot cast (later, he had to wear an air cast and use crutches). Although plaintiff’s parents contacted the school and requested tutoring assistance for plaintiff, plaintiff’s Math and Spanish teachers were the only ones to send study packages. As a result, plaintiff received incompletes and low grades during this period, and his overall GPA dropped from a B+ average to a C-, D average. Eventually, plaintiff’s parents had to hire a tutor to help plaintiff keep up in school. Plaintiff also had to miss a number of orchestra and band functions (he had been both a violinist in the school orchestra and a guitarist in the school band), and was unable to start training with the school’s varsity baseball team (he had been a pitcher). Plaintiff required assistance at virtually all times, as he could not walk, dress, bathe, or eat on his own, and constantly needed the help of his parents to do so.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Weschester County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant high school was negligent, reckless and careless in failing to act reasonably and timely in removing an ice hazard on one of its outdoor entrances, and failing to warn plaintiff and other students of the hazardous ice condition, which resulted in serious and permanent injuries to plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant high school for a total of $149,000.00.