Recently CED Investigative Technologies was retained by plaintiff’s counsel concerning a slip and fall case. After a long day of work the plaintiff was late arriving back to their condominium complex. During the day, the condominium complex owner had arranged for a construction company to replace a piece of the walkway on a ramp in front of the plaintiff’s unit with new concrete. The construction company removed the old and degraded piece but did not have time to install the new piece of concrete. At approximately 10:30 p.m., the plaintiff returned to the residence and upon walking to the condominium fell, causing severe injuries.
In complaint, the plaintiff’s allegation was not a failure to warn because the construction company had left a sign stating a hazard but improper lighting because the plaintiff was unable to see the warning or hazard. In order to provide engineering support for the allegation, the CED engineer arrived at the site to perform an inspection. At the site inspection the engineer used instruments to obtain measurements, photography and video but most importantly, the engineer conducted a light study.
Using a light meter, the engineer was able to measure the Lux, the international system unit of illumination, at the point of the fall and several feet leading up to the fall from several heights to judge the eye sight of the plaintiff.
After the inspection, the pivotal point in this case was the research and analysis performed by the engineer. Using a system called “group counseling” where engineers from one discipline consult with experts from another discipline for a comprehensive opinion, the slip and fall engineer consulted with CED’s construction expert to see if there were any codes concerning proper lighting at construction sites. After searching the extensive CED database, the engineers found a code for proper construction lighting. The code stated that general construction, or in particular, walkway repairs, require proper lighting, which was not provided at the site of the incident. The construction engineer also was able to rely on past construction experience stating that the general contractor could have installed a flashing warning device and or fencing to prevent access to the area as an alternative design.
CED engineers are skilled experts using a trained eye and have access to codes, standards the latest technology and hardware. The most important part of this case study was the ability for cross examination from several different disciplines. Because the engineers were able to cross examine their opinions, the client was able to provide a strong case to the court which resulted in a settlement prior to trial in this case.
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