Assisted-Living Facility Worker Falls on Unsafe Ramp; Jury Verdict $1.83 Million

Anthony Waring was a worker for a company that owned and operated an assisted-living facility. Waring was in the process of retrieving a snow shovel from a shed on the facility’s grounds. He fell on snow and ice as he was walking down the ramp leading from the shed.

Waring was 22 years old at the time and suffered herniated disks at L3-S1 and bulging disks at C4-6. He also developed radiculopathy, which caused pain radiating from his lower back into both of his legs. 

After the injury, Waring underwent four months of physical therapy and epidural steroid injections, but he continued to suffer pain. He might in the future require the implanting of a spinal stimulator to help with his pain problem.  Since the incident, he has not returned to work.

He filed a lawsuit against the assisted-living facility’s owner claiming that the ramp was dangerous and caused his fall and injuries. It was further alleged that the facility owner should have taken steps to correct the hazardous condition of the ramp, but chose not to. At trial, an expert for Waring testified that the angle of the ramp was too steep and that the incline was in violation of construction standards and safety rules. In addition, the ramp did not have handrails. 

The assisted-living facility countered those arguments by stating that Waring’s employer had purchased and installed the ramp without the knowledge of the facility owner and that furthermore, the ramp was reasonably safe.  The facility owner also denied that Waring was injured or hurt in a way that he described and submitted to the jury. 

At the close of the evidence and before the jury began deliberation, the facility moved for a directed verdict. It argued that it could not be held responsible for Waring’s injuries because it was an out-of-possession landlord. The trial court denied that motion holding that because there was an agreement between the assisted-living facility and Waring’s employer, the employer was to act as the owner’s agent. Therefore, the owner of the facility could not be considered an out-of-possession landlord. 

The jury’s verdict of $1.83 million included these items of damages:

  • $500,000 for future pain and suffering;
  • $500,000 for future medical expenses;
  • $400,000 for future lost earnings;
  • $250,000 for past medical expenses;
  • $100,000 for past pain and suffering; and
  • $80,000 for past lost earnings.

The defendants have a post-trial motion pending to set aside the verdict. 

The attorneys for Anthony Waring were Seth Harris and Andrea Borden.

Waring v. Sunrise Yonkers S.L., LLC, No. 304505-2009 (N.Y., Bronx Co. Sup. Feb 14, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling work injury cases, wrongful death cases, nursing home negligence cases, nursing home abuse cases, nursing bed sore cases and medical negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (Rosehill, Rogers Park, Uptown, Edgewater, Lake View, Gold Coast, Goose Island, Greek Town, Bronzeville, Oakland, Orland Park, Jackson Park, South Shore), Calumet Park, Riverdale, Evergreen Park, Hickory Hills, Burr Ridge, Oak Forest and Crestwood, Illinois.

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