Stavros Sitinas, Attorney At Law, New York City

Verdicts and Settlements:

$425,000 Settlement For Trip And Fall Over Raised Sidewalk Flag

Mr. Sitinas secured a $425,000 settlement for a 58-year-old Manhattan resident who tripped and fell over a raised sidewalk flag abutting the apartment building where he lived. The accident occurred while the plaintiff was walking his dog. Immediately after the fall, the plaintiff's dog ran back to the building's front door, where the doormen recognized the dog as belonging to the plaintiff. When the plaintiff returned to his apartment building, he informed the doormen and office staff of his accident. He returned to his apartment and tried to collect himself; he even attempted to go to work, but was unable to complete his work day.

At the urging of his wife, he visited the emergency room of a nearby hospital, where a CT scan revealed a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain). An immediate evacuation of the hematoma was performed by drilling burr holes into the plaintiff's skull to relieve pressure on the brain. Following a short stay in the hospital, the plaintiff was discharged to his home. Not long after, the plaintiff started to complain of frequent headaches and memory loss. An examination by a neuropsychologist indicated a traumatic brain injury with some cognitive deficits; however, the defendant's doctors denied any traumatic brain injury and found only mild post concussion syndrome.

A suit was filed against the building co-op and the managing agent, alleging that they knew of this particular portion of raised sidewalk and failed to rectify the dangerous condition. The evidence revealed that the building's management had actually contracted with a company to come and grind down the height differential but that the work had not yet taken place at the time of the plaintiff's accident. The defendants also claimed that the plaintiff did not fall due to the raised sidewalk, but instead fell when his dog suddenly lunged forward, breaking free from his grasp and causing him to fall.

This was allegedly witnessed by a neighbor, but the accuracy of this account was suspect and the neighbor eventually refused to cooperate. With two very different accounts being offered, the parties decided that a settlement was the best option. The matter was settled on the day jury selection was to begin for $425,000.