Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What should I do if I have been injured by another party but I can’t afford a lawyer?”
A man’s attempt to collect some money from the Washington, D.C. metro system ended up backfiring, instead earning him only criminal fraud charges. The incident surrounds Maurice Owens’ staged slip-and-fall inside a Metro subway station.
Initially, Owens told police that he slipped and fell on a banana peel while he was getting off an elevator at a D.C. Metro stop. He then sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for $15,000, hoping to quickly and easily cash in on a simple slip-and-fall claim. Owens claimed in his suit that a janitor had left the peel in the elevator and, as a result, WMATA ought to be responsible for the injuries he suffered as a result of the slip. Owens said that as a result of the fall he suffered serious injuries to his hip and leg and had to be transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
Unfortunately for Owens, the case would not prove to be as easy as he had hoped. Officials with D.C. Metro said they located security camera footage in the Potomac Avenue station which clearly shows Owens faking his fall on the banana peel. The footage reveals that prior to Owens walking in, the elevator floor was totally clear. After Owens enters, he is seen looking up at the camera located inside the elevator, then dropping something that had been in his hand on the floor. Immediately thereafter, Owens is shown falling on the item. The object that Owens dropped was later identified as the banana peel.
Owens’ fake slip-and-fall not only did not work out as he had hoped, but has now led to second-degree felony fraud charges. Many wonder whether Owens believed he would really get away with his scam given the multitude of cameras positioned in the area.
The case is amusing given the obviously staged fall, but is unfortunate because it discounts the many thousands of people who are legitimately injured each and every year following falls on slippery floors, dangerous stairs or uneven patches of ground. Though sometimes a person’s carelessness can contribute to an accident, many other falls are the responsibility of the property owner.
In most cases, for a property owner to be responsible for another person’s injury from a slip-and-fall, one of the following must be true. First, the owner of the premises or an employee must have caused the harm that led to the slip, trip or fall. Second, the owner or employee must have known about the dangerous surface but did nothing to repair it. Finally, the owner or an employee could be liable if he or she should have known about the dangerous condition because any reasonable person caring for the property would have discovered it.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on Personal Injury, Family Law and Business Litigation. Mr. Arnold began his career handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He also went on to handle business litigation cases and high value mortgage fraud cases, primarily in Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“Man Fakes Fall on Banana Peel in DC Metro, Sues for Damages,” by Colleen Curry, published at Yahoo.com.
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