Joe Petka obtained another victory for a local hospital sued for negligence. A 33-year-old mother of two tripped and fell over a “3-inch drop off” between the pavement and a driveway in the hospital parking lot. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff fractured her metatarsal and had to have two surgeries to repair it. The first surgery was an open reduction internal fixation procedure to hold the bone together so that it could heal. The second surgery was performed over a year later. The plaintiff had some of the surgical hardware removed from her foot because it caused her pain. At trial, the plaintiff testified that she continued to experience pain in her foot.
During the trial, the attorneys battled mostly over negligence. The plaintiff alleged that the drop off was dangerous and should not exist on hospital property. In response, Mr. Petka argued that fall was the result of the plaintiff’s negligence. Specifically, the evidence suggested that she was not paying attention to where she was walking. Moreover, Mr. Petka argued that discrepancy was not dangerous, as the drop off was not “3 inches” as the plaintiff claimed; and instead, the plaintiff was using misleading photo angels to increase the size of the alleged defect.
A Delaware County jury of nine women and three men agreed with Mr. Petka and unanimously found that the hospital was not negligent.