An Oklahoma man suffered serious injuries after he fell at the bottom of a set of stairs.

How a Fall Led to a 12 Million Dollar Verdict

When you think of someone falling at the bottom of the stairs, you probably think that the person likely received minor injuries — perhaps a sprained ankle or maybe some bruises. That is what an Oklahoma man thought after he fell at his apartment complex. But it turned out that his injuries were much more serious — and he ultimately won a $12 million verdict against his landlord for his injuries.

The incident occurred in 2012, when he was walking down the stairs and it collapsed at the bottom. He fell and injured his ankle. Thinking it was just a sprain, the man got up and went to work. However, his ankle didn’t get better, and he was ultimately diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, or CPRS. This is a condition that impacts the nervous system and can cause consistent pain, stiffness, swelling, and muscle spasms, among other symptoms. The man ended up requiring more than 100 nerve block injections and extensive physical therapy to treat his pain from the fall.

The owner and manager of his apartment complex, Legacy Corner Apartments, did not take responsibility for his injuries. As a result, the man filed a lawsuit against them, claiming that they failed to properly maintain the premises, allowing the staircase to deteriorate to the point that it collapsed. The defendant (the owners of the apartment complex) denied these claims, and disputed the seriousness of the man’s injuries. They offered him a total of $1.25 million to settle his claim, which he rejected. The jury later awarded him a total of $12 million, which included $6 million in actual damages suffered and $6 million in punitive damages (punitive damages are meant to “punish” wrongdoers and to serve as an example for others so they won’t do the same thing).

This case may have had an exceptionally high verdict, but it shows how serious the injuries in slip and fall cases can be. Property owners owe a duty of care to people who have a legal right to be on their property. Typically, a plaintiff (victim) in a premises liability case must show that the owner of the property had notice of the dangerous or defective condition and failed to act to fix it. This can be proven either by showing that the landlord had actual notice — such as if a tenant complained about the problem — or constructive notice. Constructive notice is essentially what a reasonably prudent owner or property manager could or should have known under the circumstances; owners or managers should make regular inspections of their properties to make sure that they are reasonably safe for both tenants and visitors.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall case, the experienced slip and fall attorneys of the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can help. We have helped more than 100,000 clients recover more than $2 billion dollars in damages for their losses. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover for you. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or to schedule an appointment today.

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