Woman Who Fell off Bench in Public Venue Reaches $750k Settlement

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. on Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dispute hinged on whether it was foreseeable that ledge would be used as seating

A woman who broke her neck after she fell backward off a bench in a public venue has settled her premises liability injury claim for $750,000.

On May 1, 2008, the 55-year-old was visiting the public venue with friends. She sat down on a ledge situated along a pedestrian walkway. After sitting down on the bench, she lost her balance and fell backward. Her head struck the concrete floor, and she fractured her second cervical vertebra. After the accident she required one surgery and was required to wear a halo device that immobilized her neck.

She filed a premises liability lawsuit against the owner, developer and manager of the public venue. The plaintiff was represented by Brown & Crouppen.

The suit alleged that it was foreseeable that patrons would sit on the ledge, that the ledge was not reasonably safe because it had no backrest, that there were no signs warning patrons not to sit on the bench or indicating that the bench was unsafe and that there were no barriers or other objects in place to prevent patrons from sitting on the ledge.

The defendants denied the allegations, asserting that the barrier was designed to protect patrons from falling into the walkway and that it was not intended to serve as a seat. The defendants agreed to settle the case for &750,000 without admitting liability.

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