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Retiree injured at Smith Mountain Lake vacation home – $800,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//February 4, 2013

Retiree injured at Smith Mountain Lake vacation home – $800,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//February 4, 2013

Plaintiff and his family rented a vacation home in Smith Mountain Lake during June 2011.  The home is situated on a hill looking down on the lake. To access the lake and boat dock from the home, the vacationers must utilize a stone paver staircase.

On the second day of vacation, the plaintiff was walking up from the boat dock to the house. A few steps up, a stone paver gave way and the plaintiff fell backwards and downwards, and landed hard on the stone landing just below the stair. His head was cut from where it hit a stone, and he began experiencing excruciating pain in his hip. The plaintiff suffered a complex left both column acetabular fracture with medial wall impaction. This complex hip injury required immediate surgery. After the initial surgery, the plaintiff was informed that he would likely require a total hip replacement in the future, at least a year after the initial surgery, so that the hip had time to heal on its own.

A year later, the plaintiff underwent a total hip replacement. Unfortunately, he suffered an infection to the surgical site, which spread to deep tissues and his prosthesis, requiring three additional debridement procedures.

During investigation, it was discovered that the owner had attempted to repair several loose paver stones on his own, without the assistance of a licensed contractor. The owner used a type of epoxy to affix the stone pavers to the substrate, but the epoxy was not the proper type of adhesive and the stones did not adhere. The owner admitted his faulty repair efforts to the plaintiff’s family members immediately after the incident. Counsel retained an architect on building code violations and also provided the insurer with the Virginia jury instructions providing that lessors who undertake repairs must do so in a workmanlike manner.

The case settled prior to suit.


Type of action: Premises liability – trip & fall
Injuries alleged: Complex hip fracture
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Amount: $800,000
Attorneys for plaintiff: Emily Mapp Brannon and Richard N. Shapiro, Virginia Beach

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