Chicago premises liability attorney Gary Annes has resolved a case on behalf of a south suburban resident who slipped and fell on an unnatural accumulation of ice. The ice was formed when a dog owner, in freezing conditions, sprayed down his porch with a hose to clean up dog excrement. Unfortunately, he did this in the dead of winter, creating a hazardous sheet of ice. The Chicago area slip & fall case settled for the defendant’s homeowners insurance policy limits of $100,000.
The slip and fall occurred at a townhouse in New Lenox, Illinois on February 15, 2010. The plaintiff was at the home of the defendant. She opened the door to the back patio area of the house and stepped outside to throw away some garbage. Once outside, as she walked to the garbage cans she slipped on a large sheet of ice on the patio, falling to the ground, and landing on her right hand and forehead.
After our client fell, the homeowner admitted that he used the gated back patio area of his home as a dog run. The back patio area was a concrete slab. He further admitted that the day before the occurrence he had hosed off the back patio area to attempt to clear the area of his dog’s waste. Unfortunately, due to the freezing temperatures the water used to clean the patio froze forming a sheet of ice which was then obscured by a light snow. He also admitted that he forgot to put down salt as he had apparently intended.
The claimant had an immediate onset of severe right wrist and head pain. She was taken from the scene of the occurrence to Silver Cross Hospital‘s Emergency Department.
Upon arrival at the Emergency Department a history was taken, she was examined and diagnostic tests were performed. She complained of severe right wrist and head pain. She was experiencing dizziness and nausea. Examination revealed a significant contusion to her forehead and an obvious deformity with tenderness to her right wrist.
X-rays of the right wrist revealed a comminuted fracture of the distal radius involving the metaphysic and epiphysis with displacement of the largest distal fracture fragment. The fracture lines extended to the radial carpal joint space. There was widening of the distal radial ulnar joint. There was also a displaced fracture of the ulnar styloid.
Based upon her exam and the results of the diagnostic tests the plaintiff was diagnosed with a right wrist fracture, a closed head injury and post concussion syndrome. Her right arm was placed in a splint to immobilize it, she was given a sling, she was prescribed pain medications and instructed to see an orthopedic surgeon for follow up care of her wrist.
The next day our client was seen by at Parkview Orthopaedic Group. A surgeon took a history, examined her and reviewed her x-rays. The doctor observed swelling and obvious deformity to her right wrist. He put her in a new splint and sent her back to Silver Cross Hospital for a right wrist CT. The CT showed the comminuted fracture of the distal radius with dorsal angulation and displacement at approximately 4 mm of impaction of the fracture fragments with fracture lines extending to the radial carpal joint space and a comminuted fracture of the ulnar styloid.
Based upon the CT results the physician diagnosed the claimant with a four-part intraarticular displaced unstable distal radius fracture to the right wrist and ulnar styloid. The doctor recommended an open reduction internal fixation surgery.
Surgery was performed in February, 2010 at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Treatment of the fractures required the implantation of surgical metal, including a plate and screws.
Following the surgery the client continued to follow up with her doctor on a regular basis through August, 2010. On March 9, 2010 her cast and staples were removed and she was put into a splint. She was required to wear the splint at all times except for bathing. She was finally taken off the wrist splint on April 6, 2010. Nonetheless she continued to have limitations including no heavy lifting. The physician gave her a full home exercise program consisting of stretches and exercises to help rehabilitate her wrist. The last time she saw the doctor for her wrist she continued to have some issues when she would place pressure on the wrist or attempt to lift heavy objects.
Despite her treatment, the plaintiff still has pain and discomfort in her wrist. This is especially prevalent when there are changes in the weather, such as cold and damp weather, or when pressure or weight is applied to the wrist such as when she carries groceries or does laundry.
For months after the accident the plaintiff could not do any activity that required the use of her right hand. Even after her cast was removed and she was able to begin to use her right hand and wrist, she continued to experience pain with almost all activities of daily living. Simple activities such as turning a door knob, opening a jar, personal hygiene, putting on her makeup, doing her hair, getting dressed, using a computer, cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping were very difficult and painful for her.
She incurred medical expenses of just over $30,000 due to the accident. She now has a permanent surgical scar on her right wrist.