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T-4 left transverse process fracture, temporal bone fracture, closed head injury.
David Dwork, Esquire
Plaintiff, age seven, was with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend at a self-storage facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where her mother’s boyfriend and another individual were using a two-wheeler to transport items from the cubicle that they had rented. To negotiate the three concrete stairs leading to the ground level, they used a 2’ x 5’ board as a ramp. Plaintiff ran behind the cubicle and fell in an uncovered hole that had formerly been used as a laundry chute and fell approximately 18’. Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to U. Mass. Memorial Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a fracture of the left temporal bone and left transverse process fracture at T-4. She was discharged from the hospital three days later. Subsequently, she saw a neurologist, who cleared her to return to school about five weeks after the incident. Plaintiff had a prior history of ADHD.
Plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in the maintenance of the premises in allowing an exposed hole to exist on the premises. The defendant argued that the hole had been covered by the 2’ x 5’ board which the plaintiff’s mother’s boyfriend had used as a ramp to negotiate from the loading dock to the ground level. Plaintiff argued that the board should have been more securely attached to cover the hole so that it could not be easily removed. Defendant also asserted that the plaintiff was not being adequately supervised. Plaintiff claimed that she had sustained a closed head injury and although her acute injuries had substantially resolved, she had been left with some residual cognitive and behavioral deficits. Defendant argued that plaintiff had returned to school and was functioning at her baseline level, given her pre-existing ADHD.