Poor Lighting Causes Stairway Fall

Synopsis

Plaintiff was a patron in a San Francisco music venue watching a live show from the balcony seating area. As she made her way to the staircase to exit the balcony level she unsuspectingly fell from the top of the stairs. The lighting was so poor at the top of the staircase that she did not realize she had reached the first step and missed the step.

Plaintiff Allegations

Plaintiff sued the landowner and venue operator for negligence and premises liability. The landowner had non-delegable duties to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The venue operator also had duties to its paying patrons not to unreasonably expose them to hazards that could cause serious harm.

Defendant Allegations

Liability was contested. Defendants argued that the dim lighting on the staircase did not create a dangerous condition. Defendants also argued that plaintiff caused her fall by being inattentive and intoxicated.

Injuries/Damages

Plaintiff sustained a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of the fall. Plaintiff was unemployed at the time of her fall, which made her wage loss claims complex. Plaintiff was searching for a job at the time she was injured, but was unable to obtain employment for months following the incident, due to her difficulties with cognitive functioning. Plaintiff was a pharmaceuticals sales representative and was having difficulty retaining information for her interviews to gain employment after the fall. Plaintiff eventually found employment in her industry, but was out of work for a series of months.

Result

Parties settled for $400,000.

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