$1.1 Million Compensation to 69-Year-Old Woman Badly Injured by Fallen Tree
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on March 21st, 2014
As she walked across a parking lot at the Ridley Park Swim Club with her grandson on June 24, 2010, a 69-year-old Philadelphia woman was struck and seriously injured by a large tree that fell from an adjoining property.
Almost four years after the debilitating injuries she suffered, the victim, Maryanne Dunlap, has been awarded $750,000 in damages by a Delaware County jury, as well as a previously announced $350,000 arbitration award from the owner of the tree that fell on her. The tree fractured her right hip and knee.
Mrs. Dunlap had to undergo a hip replacement after the incident, and was then in a rehabilitation facility for more than three months before returning home, according to John A. Lord, the MyPhillyLawyer attorney who handled the case for the plaintiff. She will also have to undergo knee replacement surgery in the future due to her injuries.
A certified arborist who testified on behalf of the plaintiff said he examined the tree that fell on the victim as well as nearby trees on the property and determined that the fallen tree had been dead for some time and was a danger to passersby, according to MyPhillyLawyer.
“The Ridley Park Swim Club argued that it was not liable because the tree was not on their property and that, in any event, they had conducted a ‘reasonable’ inspection and were not able to determine that trees on the adjoining property were dangerous,” Lord said in a statement. Grape vines that were growing on the trees were also a sign that the trees were in danger, the arborist testified, because their weight was enough to cause a tree to fall over.
In addition, “the swim club’s president admitted that he knew the vines were a danger to the trees,” according to Lord. “The Club admitted that it never hired an arborist to evaluate the condition of the trees and never closed off the lower parking lot and never posted warnings regarding the presence of dangerous trees.”
An expert in facilities and property management also testified on behalf of the plaintiff, and said that the standard of care for commercial property owners is to inspect not only the premises but situations off-premises that could endanger visitors, according to MyPhillyLawyer. Property owners are required to correct dangerous conditions or at least warn of their existence, the expert testified.
After her injuries and release from the rehabilitation facility, Mrs. Dunlap lived with one of her daughters for a year while her rehabilitation continued. “Before the incident, Mrs. Dunlap was independent in all of her daily activities, including caring for her grandchildren,” said Lord. “After the incident, as a result of her injuries, Mrs. Dunlap can ambulate short distances using a walker but requires a wheel chair for distances longer than a block. She can no longer drive a car and relies on her children for shopping, cleaning, transportation and most other needs.”
Mrs. Dunlap found MyPhillyLawyer via a Google search just 20 days before the statute of limitations on her case was due to expire. Had that date been reached before her lawsuit was filed, she would have been forever barred from seeking appropriate compensation from the wrongdoers for her life-altering injuries.
This case underscores the fact that innocent victims are hurt due to the actions or indifference of others in a wide range of incidents in every kind of situation imaginable. And that’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a personal injury case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.