Don was a contractor. He was in the process of remodeling a client’s house in the middle of winter in January. The house in question had a gutter downspout that drained down the middle of the driveway. This was an unseasonably warm winter. Snow melted from the roof of the house, drained down the gutter and down the driveway. At night, this small stream of water would refreeze, leaving a clear thin sheet of ice down the driveway. The homeowners were aware that this problem existed. There was no evidence of sanding or salting in the driveway. Early one morning, Don was walking to his van to get some tools and he slipped and fell on the ice, his leg twisting under him. This fall resulted in a tibia fibula fracture requiring surgery to place screws and a rod in his leg. Don just wanted his medical bills of $25,000 paid. He hired an attorney because the insurance company would not pay his medical bills. After substantial litigation, the insurance company only offered $15,000. Attorney Rich Ruohonen tried this case to a jury. A verdict of $92,500 was obtained for Don.
James was delivering his monthly rent check to his landlord one evening. As he left the front door, he walked along the sidewalk and fell on ice. The landlord’s wife admitted they had a drainage problem that caused water to flow across the sidewalk and would often refreeze during the cold nights. James had previously broken his arm and had a plate in his arm. When he fell on that same arm, the humerus bone in his upper arm snapped just above the plate that was already in his arm. Surgery was performed to take out the previous plate and screws and put a longer plate and more screws to secure the new arm fracture. Other than occasional discomfort and feelings of tightness in the muscle near the fracture, James had no residuals from the injury. Partner Rich Ruohonen settled the case for $120,000.
Courtney was delivering for a local package delivery company when he tripped at a townhome where the driveway met the sidewalk. The driveway had sunk and left a three-inch lip. C.D. fell, injuring his foot. The injuries included a broken left fibula and injuries to the tendons and ligaments in the ankle resulting in instability in the ankle. After a couple of surgeries to fix tendons and ligaments, C.D. was left with significant ongoing foot pain and wore a brace daily. The case settled shortly before trial for $300,000 after Partner Rich Ruohonen litigated the case.
An 87-year-old woman fell in front of her senior citizen high-rise due to ice on the front walkway. She fell backward striking her head, causing a major traumatic brain injury. There was large patch of ice on the front walkway, which was not sanded or salted. Susan was unable to return to her independent living situation. She also had signs of dementia and other problems, which the insurance company argued were pre-existing and age-related rather than from the fall. Attorney Rich Ruohonen was able to settle the case for $475,000.