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Man tripped and fell on matting at open house – $400,000 Settlement

Plaintiff’s leg was shattered when he was tripped by unsafe walking conditions in the strip between the sidewalk and the curb in front of a new home for sale.

Plaintiff, 75, and his wife were in Hampton Roads attending an open house when he was caused to trip and fall due to improperly secured straw matting used for erosion control. Plaintiff suffered multiple fractures of the femur and knee, requiring three operations and permanent hardware. As a result of the injury, plaintiff lost two years of his life.

The builder/owner of the new house fought liability strenuously. Experts disagreed about whether the straw matting was properly installed. Contributory negligence and assumption arguments were problems for the plaintiff. Even proof of the exact mechanism of injury and condition of matting was in controversy. Finally, the defense orthopedic surgeon claimed that the second and third surgeries were caused by an event where plaintiff banged his foot, not the original trip.


Type of action: Trip and fall injury

Injuries alleged: Fractures of the femur and knee requiring surgeries

Name of mediator: Hon. F. Bradford Stillman (Ret.)

Date resolved: April 16, 2019

Special damages: $320,000 in medical bills

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $400,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: John M. Cooper, Norfolk; John Baker, Norfolk