Plaintiff, a 61 year old certified nursing aid, was leaving the hospital after visiting her terminally ill husband’s bedside when she tripped and fell down a cement staircase at the main entrance of the hospital. Plaintiff claimed that her foot got caught in a 6 inch hole surrounding the handrail of the stairs. Plaintiff was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and diagnosed with a comminuted fracture of the right proximal humerus. Plaintiff was admitted into the hospital where she shared a room with her husband and then underwent a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty.
Due to her injuries, Plaintiff was unable to care for her husband who was discharged to a nursing home. Despite physical therapy, plaintiff never regained her range of motion or strength and was diagnosed by plaintiff and defense experts with a permanent injury which prohibited her from returning to her employment as a certified nursing aid at a nursing home. As a result of her injuries and unemployment, Plaintiff was forced to sell her home and move in with her daughter.
In addition to Plaintiff’s family members testifying at trial, Plaintiff presented liability, medical and vocational/economic experts who concluded that plaintiff had $315,000 in past and future wage losses, fringe benefits and household services. The defense only relied upon a liability expert and the hospital’s facilities director.
Plaintiff’s demand was $1,200,000 and a significant offer was made before trial and rejected. Ms. Miller vigorously argued that the alleged defect did not cause plaintiff’s fall. Although the jury found that the hospital was negligent, they agreed that the negligence did not cause plaintiff to fall and found in favor of the hospital.