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New York Prisoner Awarded $60,000 For Fall, Back Injury

In December 1997, a court of claims in Albany, New York, awarded $60,000 to
a state prisoner who injured his back when be slipped on icy stairs and
fell as he was exiting the prison chow hall.

As a result of the fall, the prisoner, 31 at the time of the January 1993
incident, suffered an aggravated vertebra injury and spondylolysis. He
contended the prison was negligent for failing to de-ice the stairs when
they became aware of the situation and for failing to safely maintain the
premises. The defendant prison officials argued that the prisoner was
comparatively negligent for not using the handrail while on the stairs.

The court found the prisoner to be 25% comparatively negligent and reduced
the award accordingly, to $45,000. The court also observed that prison
officials were aware of the danger because it had been snowing for several
days and another prisoner fallen badly on the same stairs shortly before the
plaintiff fell. See: Hawkins v. State cf New York, Albany County Court of
Claims, Case No. 90981, 1998 WL 953369.

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Related legal case

Hawkins v. State cf New York