Premises Liability Case Results

Case Results 1

Facts

  • A migrant worker, picking fruit in the Central Valley, had no access to shower facilities where he lived, so he washed in an irrigation canal. One weeknight, he and fellow workers headed to the canal to get cleaned up after a long day in the fields. The young man walked across a wooden board that traversed the canal, as he had done every day. This time, though, the board moved and he fell headfirst into the irrigation ditch. He was rendered paralyzed from the neck down.

How We Helped

  • He became our client. The public entity responsible for the canal system said our client was drinking, dove into the canal from the side, and hit his head on the bottom. The defendant said that our client was lying about walking across a board. They said it didn’t even exist. The workers who were with him at the time of the accident had left for Mexico, so we had no witnesses to testify in his behalf.
  • Not backing down from a fight, we drove to Fresno, and pored over dusty boxes of archival aerial photographs. We found the photograph we were searching for, taken in the 1980s, of the exact canal and location where our client was injured. We blew up the photo, and lo and behold, we could see that exact board right where our client said it was.

The Results

  • As a result of this critical evidence, we convinced the defendant to pay our client a substantial amount of money.

Case Results 2

Facts

  • Our client tripped, fell, and broke her ribs due to an uneven crack and deterioration in an unmarked crosswalk.

How We Helped

  • Our investigative team rushed out and took detailed measurements and photos of the defective crosswalk, luckily ahead of the city, which also rushed a crew over and filled in the crack. Evidence was gone, but we had the pictures and measurements to prove the case.
  • The defense said our client didn’t look where she was going and that was why she fell. We needed answers to these questions and many more: How long had the hazard been there? Was it bigger than 1 ½”? Was it on private or public property? What were the weather conditions? Had folks in the neighborhood seen others trip and fall in the same location before? Our goal: recapture the essence of the accident that contributed to her injuries.
  • We reviewed road crews’ maintenance logs from the past five years to prove that workers were in the area near the crosswalk on numerous occasions. The defense legal team then told us that while the road crews may have been there, they didn’t see the crack until after our client fell.
  • Maintaining our determination, we scanned more than three years of Google Earth satellite views, zooming into street view. The street view photographs showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the cracked crosswalk had been there for more than three years. We sent the photo to the defense.

The Results

  • A city must take precautionary measures to ensure that public walkways are clear of tripping hazards. Our client received a very fair award.