McGowan & Associates obtained a settlement for a South Shore retiree who was having lunch with his granddaughter. A door at the restaurant improperly swung out into an aisleway, and as he and his granddaughter were passing by the door swung open, narrowly missing his granddaughter, and the door handle struck out client wrist as he was passing by, causing him to temporarily lose the use of his hand and endure long lasting nerve damage. The restaurant’s insurer refused to acknowledge that there were any deviations from the applicable codes and standards that governed the subject door opening into a footpath, and further suggested that because the door had a sign that indicated “Caution Door Opens Out!” the restaurant had met its duty to warn its patrons. Frustrated, and concerned that others may be injured, our client engaged us to assist.
We prepared a demand on our client’s behalf that demonstrated that the manner in which the doorway opened into the aisleway is a violation of the Massachusetts Building Code, 780 CMR 1005.2 which forbids such encroachment. We further showed that the caution signage was not visible to patrons in the aisleway until the door was opened into them, rendering the warning useless. The insurer changed its position on liability and agreed to negotiate a settlement.
Over the course of the next several months, we were able to secure and present out client’s medical bills and reach a settlement with the restaurant’s insurer. We were also able to work with Medicare to reduce the amount of the lien that our client had to pay back, in order that he could have more money in his pocket. Finally, the restaurant changed the doorway to swing into the room as opposed to out into the aisleway, foreclosing the risk of this happening to anyone else.
If you have been injured by unsafe conditions on someone’s property, learn your legal rights. Read more about premises liability laws.