$755,865 - for Fall on Ice

Jackson v. Whitehall Residence Retirement Homes: A Bergen County jury awarded $755,865 on March 3 to a woman who was unable to continue working as a nurse's aide after she slipped on ice and fractured her leg.

Yvette Jackson, of Hackensack, was walking from one building to another while visiting patients at the Whitehall Residence Retirement Homes, an adult care center in Rochelle Park, when she slipped and fell on Feb. 14, 2000.

Jackson, now 32, fractured her right fibula and tore leg ligaments, says her lawyer, Donald Caminiti, a partner with Breslin & Breslin in Hackensack. She required three surgeries, including an open reduction and fixation, insertion and removal of a fibula-tibia screw, and the cleaning out of bone chips.

Jackson continues to suffer pain and swelling but her doctor has recommended that she limit herself to sedentary work, says Caminiti. Instead of the $175 per week she earned as a nurse's aide, she now makes about $100 as a babysitter. Jackson claimed that Whitehall was negligent for not clearing the ice.

After Caminiti rejected a $60,000 settlement offer and a $152,000 arbitration award, the case went to trial on March 1 before Judge Isabel Stark.

The jury awarded Jackson $650,000 for pain and suffering, $19,490 for past lost wages, $60,000 for future lost wages and $26,375 for past medical expenses. There is a worker's compensation lien of $45,865.

Whitehall's lawyer, Martin Sullivan, a partner with Newark's Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, did not return a call seeking comment.

By Mary P Gallagher

reprinted from the New Jersey Law Journal, March 15, 2004