Y.K., a 73 year old resident of a large condominium complex in Chicago’s northern suburbs, slipped and fell on ice attempting to take out the garbage from his garage. He sustained a right intertrochanteric femur (hip) fracture, requiring surgery. Y.K. had driven his wife to work earlier that day, returning home at around 7 am. He parked his car in front of his garage, and while walking into his garage to take out the garbage, slipped and fell on a thick accumulation of ice that ran across the entire width of the garage door at its junction with the driveway.
In order to receive compensation for this accident, the personal injury attorneys at Lipkin & Higgins had to prove that the ice Y.K. slipped on resulted from an “unnatural” accumulation, ie. did not occur merely because of inclement weather conditions.
We met Y.K. at his home and had him walk us through his movements leading to his fall. We learned that another condo owner had made a prior complaint to the Condominium Association for a similar incident.
We obtained a copy of the Condo By-Laws which placed responsibility on the Association for maintaining the roofs, gutters and driveways of all units. The prior incident was significant in that it placed the Association on notice of a possibly defective condition of its premises.
We then hired an engineering firm to come to the property and try to determine the cause of the build up of ice. The firm found multiple building code violations: the roof was improperly constructed; the gutters were inadequate given the square footage of the roof; a gutter downspout opened up directly onto the driveway; and the driveway itself declined towards the garage, rather than away from it, allowing for water to pool right in front of the garage, and subsequently freeze.
Y.K. spent a week in the hospital, and another month in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. He made an excellent recovery after 5 months. After presenting the Association insurance company with the engineering report, medical records and bills, we successfully negotiated a $265,000 settlement without having to file a lawsuit.