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New York Prisoner Awarded $25,000 in Slip and Fall

A New York Court of Claims has awarded a former prisoner $25,000 for shoulder injuries incurred in a slip and fall accident. The action was filed by Charles Jones, who slipped and fell on a wet substance on the gymnasium floor at Ogdensburg Correctional Facility while playing basketball on June 17, 2000.

When he fell, Jones felt a sharp pain radiate down his left arm, leaving it numb for a period of time. After going to the prison infirmary, a nurse applied ice, gave him ibuprofen, and instructed him to return to the housing unit. Over the next two months, he was seen four times in the infirmary. He was ultimately sent out for an x-ray at another prison, which returned normal.

After Jones was transferred to a work release center in New York City, he sought further treatment for his shoulder at a hospital. He was originally diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and tendinitis, but an MRI caused that diagnosis to change to a frozen shoulder. In February, 2001, Jones began physical therapy.

The physical therapy did not help, and Jones was experiencing pain with normal activities. Because he was a veteran, Jones utilized his benefits at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, which rendered the same diagnosis of a frozen shoulder, ordering physical therapy.

A June, 2007, examination found mild to moderate decrease in Jones’ range of motion. The frozen shoulder injury was not permanent, and it improved with time, gently use, and exercise. On October 16, 2006, the Court entered a decision that found the State of New York 50% liable for Jones’ injury. On February 27, 2008, the Court, after reviewing awards for injuries similar to Jones’, found that he had been damaged in the amount of $40,000 for past pain and suffering, and $10,000 future pain and suffering. Reducing that award by comparative negligence by Jones made the total award $25,000. See: Jones v. State of New York, N.Y. Ct. of Claims, 2008-018-613, claim no. 105792

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Related legal case

Jones v. State of New York