What sorts of damages can a plaintiff recover following a slip and fall injury?
Earlier this summer, a New Jersey Appeals Court upheld a staggering $4 million verdict in favor of a nurse who was severely injured after falling on the ice while walking to work. At issue in the case was a little-known statute known as the Charitable Immunity Act, which works in New Jersey to limit damages against injury defendants who are charitable organizations working to help the victim at the time of the injury.
At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence that, while walking into the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation to teach a nursing course, she slipped on a patch of ice she contends was not obvious or noticeable to a reasonable person. As a result of the injury, she fractured her ankle, had to endure seven surgeries and a fusion. Moreover, she was not able to continue in her position as a contract nursing instructor as she could not remain on her feet for extended periods of time.
Counsel for the rehabilitation center – which is a not-for-profit health organization – contended that her damages should be limited to $250,000 under the Charitable Immunity Act. However, the trial court concluded that the Act actually only limits damages where the injured victim was receiving direct benefits from the charity at the time of the accident. In this case, it concluded, the victim was not receiving any direct benefits from the defendants, and was actually merely using the facility pursuant to her contract with a local community college.
In sum, the court concluded that the plaintiff was not within the center’s “charitable endeavors,” and it would be responsible for the full amount of her damages.
If you have recently suffered a personal injury in New Jersey and would like to speak to a reputable attorney about your options for legal recourse, please do not hesitate to contact Nagel Rice at 973.618.0400 or 212.551.1465.