On Wednesday, the city of Atlanta agreed to pay a $3 million settlement to a blind man who was injured when he tripped on a broken sidewalk, Fox News reports.
Alex Jenkins’s slip and fall suit alleged that the city’s Department of Public Works was negligent in failing to repair the sidewalk. Jenkins had reportedly been complaining to the city about the sidewalk for years.
According to the suit, Jenkins suffered serious injuries as a result of the fall. While $3 million may seem like a huge sum for a trip on the sidewalk, the city’s legal exposure far exceeded the settlement amount, according to the city’s attorney.
Many commentators, however, have been critical of the city’s extensive track record of paying out large settlements in civil cases. In 2008, Atlanta paid out $7,813,00 to settle claims. In 2010, the city paid out $12,320,000.
The most expensive settlement involved a case over an illegal police raid that left a 92-year-old woman dead. That suit was settled for about $5 million. Critics contend that city officials should work on solving the root problems of the incidents rather than paying out millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to treat the symptoms.
The suit that the city settled with Jenkins is a “slip and fall” case. In such suits, a plaintiff has been injured after slipping and falling due to a dangerous condition on another person’s property.
Generally, the plaintiff must show that the owner of the premises or an employee actually knew of the dangerous condition, should’ve known about the dangerous condition, or caused the dangerous condition. Jenkins had put the city on notice about the broken sidewalk by reportedly notifying city officials about the condition on several occasions.
As a result of Alex Jenkins injury, the city has issued a new citywide safety policy, according to a spokesperson for Mayor Kasim Reed.
- Find an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Man May Get $3M After Fall on Atlanta Sidewalk (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Conditions Leading to Indoor Slip and Fall Accident (FindLaw)
- Slip and Fall FAQ (FindLaw)