Posted On: February 24, 2012 by Stephen Bilkis

The plaintiff in this personal injury case has filed a complaint against the defendant

The plaintiff in this personal injury case has filed a complaint against the defendant for sustaining injuries in a trip and fall accident that happened on the staircase of a church. The church is the defendant in this case.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff fell because his foot got stuck at something protruding on the step of the stairs. The plaintiff has alleged that the cause of his accident was curled up rubber protector found on the stair steps.

The defendant has filed for a summary judgment seeking to dismiss the complaint. The defendant believes that it did not create the defect or hazardous condition that was said to be the cause of the accident. The defendant asserted that it did not have any prior notice regarding the defect. The defendant has also asserted that during the day of the accident, the defendant did not have any control of the premises.

The burden of entitlement for summary judgment has been placed on the defendant. The defendant presents the plaintiff’s testimony during the deposition. According to the plaintiff, he was holding the railing for support when his heel got caught on something and he fell down the stairs. The fall caused an injury to his right knee. The plaintiff recalled in his testimony that he happened to look down when he was about to use the stairs and saw nothing that time.

The defendant also presented the testimony of a church employee who is in charge of the maintenance and repairs of the church premises for decades. According to the church employee, the stairs were covered with protective material made of rubber. He further revealed that the covering had not been replaced ever since. As the maintenance man, he never saw anything out of order while using the stairs every day. He did not see any raised or dislodged rubber material. The church employee should notice if there are any defects since part of his daily duties is to sweep the steps of the staircase. He had no knowledge of anyone complaining about any defects on the stairs. The church did not receive any prior complaints.
As a general rule, the defendant has the burden of establishing that the owner of the property did not create the defect or condition that allegedly caused the accident of the plaintiff. The church also has to prove to the court that it did not have any prior information concerning such defect.

The court has determined that there was no evidence to prove that the plaintiff had known of any defect on the stairs. It was noted by the court that plaintiff only named the rubber covering as the cause of the injury after falling down the stairs. According to the law, the plaintiff must present evidence that it was indeed the rubber material that caused him to trip and fall. If the plaintiff cannot present such sufficient evidence, the cause provided by the plaintiff should be treated as mere speculation on his part.

The plaintiff’s accident may have been due to other possible causes such as the loss of balance or failing to step on the proper step. However, even if the court will assume that the rubber material was the cause of the fall, the defendant has already proven that it is entitled to summary judgment since it was able to present sufficient evidence. The defendant had established that it did not create the alleged defect and had no prior knowledge or received no complaints against the steps of the staircase. The court has also determined that plaintiff had not established the issue of the raised or bunched up rubber covering on the stairs. Therefore, the plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed and the summary judgment granted.

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A New York Trip and Fall Attorney is the best choice for personal injury cases. To contact a New York Trip and Fall Lawyer, Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help you arrange a meeting to get started.