Barbara tripped and fell in front of Sally\’s Gift Shop. She sustained a ruptured Achilles\’ tendon. Because Barbara was a waitress, she was out of work for almost eight months because of the injury. Barbara bought a personal injury suit against Sally\’s Gift Shop alleging that the sidewalk in front of Sally\’s store was uneven causing Barbara to fall.
The insurance company for Sally\’s Gift Shop had Barbara examined. The insurance company\’s doctor agreed with Barbara\’s treating physician that Barbara sustained the injury and would be out of work for an extended period of time.
The case went to trial and the jury came back in favor of Sally\’s Gift Shop despite the fact that both doctors agreed that Barbara sustained a serious injury which caused her to miss months of work.
Barbara\’s attorney made a motion for a new trial.
ISSUE: Will Barbara get a new trial?
ANSWER: No. Just because one sustains an injury on another person\’s property does not mean that the victim is entitled to a monetary award. In Pennsylvania, a jury still is required initially to determine whether or not the owners of Sally\’s Gift Shop were negligent in the maintenance of the sidewalk. Even if they decide that there was improper maintenance, the jury then must decide whether or not that improper maintenance was what led to Barbara falling. The mere fact that someone sustains an injury on another person\’s property does not automatically entitle them to a monetary recovery or even payment of their medical expenses. There are some large employers and retailers though that will pay medical bills only regardless of fault.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.