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Plaintiff failed to exercise care when entering hospital: defense






Cook County


Cook County Circuit Court

Injury Type(s):

ankle-fracture, ankle;
ankle-fracture, distal fibula;
other-swelling; other-physical therapy; other-nondisplaced fracture

Case Type:

Premises Liability – Failure to Warn; Slips, Trips & Falls – Slip and Fall; Premises Liability – Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Case Name:

James R. Womersley v. Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp. d/b/a Advocate Lutheran General Hospital,
No. 2015-L-009418


February 20, 2018



James R. Womersley (Male, 49 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Pasha Vaziri;
Vaziri Law LLC;
James R. Womersley

Plaintiff Expert(s):

David Schroeder; Architecture; Chicago,
IL called by:
Pasha Vaziri


Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp.

Defense Attorney(s):

Erin S. Davis;
Kominiarek Bresler Harvick & Gudmundson, LLC;
Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp. ■ Melissa Y. Gandhi;
Kominiarek Bresler Harvick & Gudmundson, LLC;
Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp.


On Jan. 17, 2014, plaintiff James Womersley, 49, an airline mechanic, slipped and fell when he entered the vestibule at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He suffered an ankle fracture. Womersley sued hospital owner Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp., alleging that it was negligent in allowing a dangerous condition to exist. Womersley alleged that he slipped and fell on a puddle of melted snow that had been tracked in from the outside. His counsel faulted the hospital for failing to install safety mats and warning signs in the vestibule, given the wintry conditions. Womersley maintained that he had walked at a normal pace when he entered the hospital. Womersley’s expert in architecture testified that the vestibule’s terrazzo flooring was inherently dangerous because its surface was slippery absent of any liquids and that it became even more slippery when it came in contact with liquids. The expert further opined that the awning outside the vestibule was defective because it failed to shield the snow and thereby allowed snow to be tracked inside the vestibule by pedestrians. The defense maintained that Womersley was contributorily negligent for the accident. The hospital cited surveillance footage to argue that Womersley had entered the vestibule in a hurried manner, which resulted in his fall. The defense contended that no warning signs or floor mats were needed and that the awning was structurally sound and not defective. Given the wintry conditions, Womersley failed to exercise due caution and care upon entering the hospital, the defense asserted.


Following the accident, Womersley presented to the hospital’s emergency room, where he was X-rayed and diagnosed with a non-displaced left distal fibula/ankle fracture. He was placed in a CAM walking boot and discharged. Womersley remained non-weight-bearing in the ensuing weeks. Womersley came under the care of an orthopedic surgeon and treated with a brief course of physical therapy and home exercises. No further treatment was rendered. Womersley’s counsel cited medical records to causally relate the ankle fracture and treatment to the subject accident. Womersley testified that he made a full recovery a year after the accident. He alleged that, in the months following his fall, he experienced constant pain and swelling in his left ankle and had difficulty performing activities of daily living. Womersley sought $75,000 for past pain and suffering and past loss of normal life. The defense did not dispute Womersley’s injury and treatment.


The jury rendered a defense verdict.

Trial Information:


Mary R. Minella

Trial Length:


Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.