One of the most common type of personal injury cases are slip and falls. Slip and fall accidents are accidents that occur when a person slips and falls on water, obstacle or defect of property that a landowner negligently permitted to occur on their property. However, slip and falls are a small part of a broader type of personal injury case: Premises liability. Although falls are the most common, premises liability includes any physical injuries sustained on someone else’s property due to someone else negligence. For example these can range from injuries sustained at a party at a friend’s house to injuries on a work site, ski mountain, or gym. Recently Troy Crichton, Esq. secured a six figure settlement on behalf of a client injured at a Philadelphia area karate studio.
In a recent matter, Troy Crichton recently secured a large settlement on behalf of a client who was injured at a Philadelphia martial arts gym. During an introductory class, the client was asked to spar with an instructor in front of the class for demonstration. The client, who had never practiced martial arts before, grabbed the instructor’s legs seconds into the “match”. The instructor, clearly demonstrating his superiority, broke the student’s hold by flipping him over his head while on one leg. The student was thrown backwards onto the mat and awkwardly landed on his neck. He immediately cried out in pain as he felt nerve pain run up and down his arms. The instructors at the gym assured him it was a “pinched nerve” and that he would feel better in the morning. Fortunately, my client did not heed their advice and went to the emergency room. While at the emergency room, it was revealed that the instructor’s throw had caused a C-6 pedicle fracture and an occluded artery. The client was put in a neck brace for approximately 3 months and started on an aspirin regimen to reduce the risk of blood clots. He eventually recovered from the occluded artery, but the C-6 pedicle fracture had not fully healed and continued to be a source of pain, suffering and frustration.
The client had consultations with several other lawyers who declined to take his case before meeting with injury lawyer Troy Crichton in Philadelphia, PA. The other lawyers declined the case for various reasons, but most notably because the client had signed an injury waiver when he agreed to take the martial arts class at the gym. Most people are familiar with these waivers when they agree to do an activity that encapsulates some risk to the participant, typically physical activities such as skiing, wrestling, martial arts, weight lifting, etc. However, these waivers while enforceable, do not necessarily absolve a party of all negligence and can be defeated in Court if a lawyer can prove gross negligence on behalf of the Defendant. Simply put, Troy Crichton decided to take the case with the knowledge and excitement that this matter would most likely proceed to trial on the issue as to whether the Defendants engaged in gross negligence when a trained, seasoned, martial arts instructor injures a novice during an instructional class.
Accordingly, the case was prepared from the outset as it was going to trial. The preparation and perseverance paid off as the Defendant’s insurance company quickly contacted us to start negotiations. In the end the matter resolved for a confidential amount without the need for litigation.
A typical Pennsylvania liability waiver only considers instances of regular negligence. In 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Feleccia v. Lackawana College ruled that liability waivers are unenforceable in cases of gross negligence. Gross negligence is defined as an ‘extreme departure’ from the standard of care, beyond that required to establish ordinary negligence, and is the failure to exercise even ‘scant care.’” The court reasoned that gross negligence involves more than a simple breach of the standard of care; rather, it describes a “gross deviation” from the required standard. It stated that “enforcing waivers of gross negligence incentivizes conduct that jeopardizes the signer’s health, safety and welfare to an unacceptable degree.”
If you or someone you know has suffered an accident, it is important to act quickly to preserve your legal rights. Contact Troy Crichton, Esq. an experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer today at (267) 225-3317. The consultation is free and confidential. Troy Crichton can help you determine whether you have a valid claim as well as securing the compensation to which you are entitled.
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