MUNICIPAL LIABILITY

“CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE, AND DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE”

$200,000.00 Settlement For Injury From Municipal Street Defect

Attorney: Gregory Sandler

Location: Virginia Beach Circuit Court

What Happened:

The client was a really nice woman who was vacationing with her family, from Factoryville, PA, in Virginia Beach during the summer, as so many people do. She, along with many other pedestrians, was walking across Pacific Avenue in Virginia Beach, at the intersection with 19th Street. As she walked behind others, her foot stepped into an uncovered City water valve access. She pitched forward with her foot stuck in the hole, causing injury to her foot, ankle and shin.

After receiving treatment locally, my client and her family returned home, but her injury took a tragic turn. From the puncture wound on her shin, the client developed Reflex Sympathic Dystrophy, which is now known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This is a condition where the body’s sympathetic nerve system misfires, making the patient feel intense neurological pain in a limb, and associated symptoms of differing temperatures in the limbs. The client relayed a constant feeling of burning sensation on her skin in her lower limb, with anything touching her, including her pants, the sheets on her bed, and socks.

The case presented many difficulties. First was the nature of the client’s injury and condition, which is not understood by most physicians. We sought the assistance of a specialist in this disease in New Jersey to provide her with an evaluation and an opinion about its cause. Second was the involvement of the City as the responsible party. Generally municipalities are granted a certain level of sovereign immunity for governmental actions, and we had to overcome that potential defense to a claim for injuries arising from lack of street maintenance. Third was the difficulty overcoming the claim that the client was partially at fault. Premises liability cases in Virginia present difficult burdens for a claimant, and this issue was heavily relied upon by the City.

The case was ultimately resolved after lengthy mediation through the payment to my client of the SETTLEMENT amount of $200,000.00.