Once, while picking up her husband from the airport, a woman snapped her foot sideways because the sidewalk was uneven. This caused bone fractures and torn ligaments and tendons which needed to be surgically repaired with pins. She hired Dennis Phillips to represent her against Miami-Dade County, the authority over the airport.
After hiring a concrete expert to examine the sight, Mr. Phillips invited the expert and the adjuster from Miami-Dade to all meet live at the scene to explain the situation. Our expert pointed out how one part of the sidewalk had obviously been poured at a different time than the other part, and that sagging had clearly occurred over the years.
Before the adjuster could deny anything, the expert also pointed out how there was evidence of at least three times when the county had tried to patch the uneven pavement rather than repair it. This evidenced the county’s actual knowledge of this hazard, and settlement was finally reached at $43,000.
Due to the sovereign immunity liability caps in place at the time, the full value at trial would have only been $100,000, so settlement made sense in order to save the time, the risks, and the tens of thousands of dollars of litigation costs that would have probably netted the client no more than she got in the settlement.