All property owners, including businesses and governments, have a duty to make sure that their premises are kept reasonably safe. The level of duty that an individual, government, or business has to a person entering their land depends on the relationship between the parties. Generally speaking, there are three categories that a relationship can fall into: trespasser, licensee, and invitee.
For the most part, trespassers are those who are not invited onto the owner’s land, licensees are social guests, and anyone invited onto an owner’s property to conduct business is an invitee. A property owner owes an invitee the highest duty of care. In a recent case, a doctor recovered a significant damages award after sustaining a career-ending injury at the defendant hospital where he was performing a surgery.
A Doctor Slips and Falls in the Operating Room
The plaintiff in the case was a doctor who routinely performed surgeries at the defendant hospital. After surgery one day, the doctor went to sit down on a stool to complete some post-operation paperwork. However, as the doctor placed his weight on the stool, it slipped out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground.
The doctor suffered a serious head injury as a result of the fall and has since been diagnosed with a seizure disorder. The seizures were so bad that the doctor had to close down his practice.
The doctor filed a premises liability lawsuit against the hospital, claiming that the casters on the bottom of the rolling stool were unfit for the hard vinyl floor in the operating room. The defendant’s main argument at trial was that the doctor should have known that caution was required when sitting down on a rolling stool. The hospital pointed to the fact that the doctor had performed “thousands” of surgeries at the hospital without incident.
The doctor’s case went to a jury trial, and the jury found in his favor, determining that the doctor suffered $10 million in damages. However, since the doctor was found to be 30% at fault for the slip-and-fall accident, the total award amount was reduced by 30%, leaving him with a $7 million award.
Have You Been Injured in a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a New Mexico slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the seriousness of your injuries, you may be eligible for compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. Call the Fine Law Firm today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our time or services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Premises Liability Case Brought by Injured Delivery Driver Allowed to Proceed Against Gas Station, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2017.
Appellate Court Declines Opportunity to Apply Government Immunity in Bicycle Accident Case Against City, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 11, 2017.