Premises Liability - Multiple Fractures Caused by Stair Collapse

Bilateral ankle fractures, comminuted shoulder fracture, nerve damage, lacerations, infection
Amount of Recovery
Plaintiff's Lawyer
David W. White
Boston, Massachusetts
Suffolk Superior Court
Details of the Case

Plaintiff was a 59-year-old businessman who was visiting a commercial building in downtown Boston. He was leaving the building on a back stairway. When he stepped on one of the landings, which was made of slate, the slate fractured, and he fell through the landing approximately 12 feet to the landing below. As a result of the landlord's negligence, he broke both ankles and his left shoulder, and had several lacerations from the broken slate floor which sliced him as he fell through and which also landed on top of him.

Investigation and discovery revealed that the negligent landlord had no inspection program for the property, including the aging stairway. The landlord failed to recognize that the multiple cracks in the landings and stairs were an obvious indication that the floor had structural problems. After the accident, the landlord replaced all of the landings and many of the steps on the stairway. Even after the repairs, the wear in the slate steps which remained was evident. 

Plaintiff required multiple surgeries for his injuries, and was left with a permanent partial disability in one leg and his left arm. Plaintiff was self-employed, and was gradually able to return to work on a modified schedule.

Though liability was reasonably clear, the landlord vigorously denied liability and defended the case. Obviously, the plaintiff did nothing wrong; he was merely using a staircase that was open to the visiting public. 

Multiple depositions of the landlord’s staff and maintenance personnel were taken. It became clear from the discovery that the stairs were open for use by visitors to the building. It was also clear that even though the stairs were cleaned by the staff regularly, nobody bothered to assess the stability or integrity of the stairway, which was at least 100 years old. The cracks in the slate were readily observable to the landlord’s staff, but they took no notice. Perhaps the most glaring evidence of negligence on the part of the landlord was that it had no system in place to check the integrity of the aging building.  

The case was settled at mediation shortly before trial. The settlement also included payments to the injured plaintiff’s wife for her loss of consortium. 

Choosing a Massachusetts Premises Liability Lawyer

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Find out more about Massachusetts premises liability cases which the attorneys at our firm handle on our page on Personal Injury Caused by Premises Liability.

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Client Reviews
David really cared about me as an individual…and he really cared about seeking the justice that needed to be sought in the case. Peter
Ron got the insurance company to settle for the maximum on the policy. And so as a result of that, my son went back to school. Jeff
Marc just guided us through the whole process. He told us exactly what would happen and how we needed to go about doing everything. Jesenia
I would recommend David…The outcome of my case, I was very pleased with it. I hope I don't have another accident, but if I do we'll be back to see David. Paul
Ron was excellent. He was on top of everything. He answered every question. John
Marc was extremely professional. I felt very confident that he knew exactly what he was doing. This is his area of practice and I had total confidence in him and I actually have recommended him to other people who have been in accidents. Josh