After a family’s visit to a Newport News restaurant resulted in the mother suffering very serious slip-and-fall injuries, the family contacted Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer Jeff Brooke. Recently, The Jeff Brooke Team won a $750,000 settlement in the case. This victory illustrates just how hard we fight to get the compensation our clients deserve.
Background of the Case
A mother from Michigan visited her daughter in Newport News to celebrate at her daughter’s surprise birthday party at a local café. As the family entered the newly-renovated restaurant, the mother slipped and fell. She required surgery for a fractured thigh bone. A subsequent severe staph infection necessitated additional hospitalization.
The mother turned to The Jeff Brooke team to recover compensation for her injuries. We filed a lawsuit against the café and its landlord (the owner of the building) after negotiations to settle our client’s claims failed to lead to a satisfactory amount of compensation.
Family members and a number of patrons and employees witnessed the incident but disagreed about the location and nature of the fall. The mother said she tripped over a raised transition strip that bordered the entrance foyer. The Jeff Brooke Team hired an expert to measure the transition strip. Our expert’s measurements (which were disputed by the café and building owner) indicated that the transition strip was higher in places than permitted under the Uniform Statewide Building Code.
The case became complicated on the issue of liability between the café and the building owner/landlord, due to an indemnity clause in the lease between the landlord and the café. Insurance coverage issues also arose. As a result, an initial mediation meeting was canceled. The matter was approaching trial when the Newport News Circuit Court Judge required the parties to submit to a judicial settlement conference. At that point, the two insurance carriers were able to resolve their differences, and settlement discussions proceeded. In the end, The Jeff Brooke Team secured a $750,000 settlement for our client.
Complexity of Premises Liability Cases in Virginia
Our handling of this case illustrates a number of important points — including how vigorously The Jeff Brooke Team fights for our clients’ rights. We continued to advocate for our client despite conflicting testimony and evidence, even hiring an expert to demonstrate the danger and non-compliance of the transition strip that caused the mother’s fall. Our team was ready to go to trial if necessary. We steadfastly refused to accept settlement offers that did not fully compensate our client for her injuries and losses.
Premises liability cases are always complex in Virginia: Business owners are required to maintain their facilities in reasonably safe condition, but a visitor’s safety is not guaranteed. A claim requires not only analyzing detailed evidence about the cause of the injury but also demonstrating negligence on the part of those responsible for the condition of premises.
When a property is leased — which was the situation in this case — complex issues about liability and insurance coverage often arise between the tenant and the landlord, and multiple insurance companies may be involved. Gathering the right evidence and navigating through all the complicated legal and factual issues requires knowledgeable, tenacious legal counsel. In this case, Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer Jeff Brooke drew on his wealth of knowledge and experience — as well as his persistence — until he finally won a settlement that fully compensated his client for the injuries suffered.