A 79 year old Manhattan woman recently reached a pre-trial settlement for $300,000 after tripping and falling outside the defendant’s building, breaking her humerus. The plaintiff cited a 15/16ths of an inch height differential in sidewalk flags outside the defendant’s building. Settlement was reached despite contention from the defendant that he had no notice of the minimal height differential. Prior notice, whether actual or constructive, must be proven by a plaintiff in order to prevail in a slip and fall case.
One possible motivation for settlement for the defendant was the plaintiff’s claim of permanent disability due to the resulting fracture after the fall. Regardless of motivation, the case is now settled, and certainly the defendant can now consider himself on notice about the height differential in the sidewalk outside his building.