Trip and Fall Costs Modesto $286,000


The city of Modesto paid $250,000 to settle a suit that alleged the city was at fault for the injuries a man sustained as a result of a missing sidewalk.


Chris Goodrum was walking his dogs on East Morris Avenue when he tripped and fell along a missing section of city sidewalk, severely breaking his ankle. The section of sidewalk that was missing was cut away by the city in a half-moon shape to accommodate a tree, according to Goodrum’s lawyer, who added that the city removed the tree after it died but never fixed the sidewalk.


Goodrum alleged that his employer let him go because he could no longer meet the physical demands of an auto technician.


While Modesto did not admit to any liability or responsibility in the settlement, city spokesman Thomas Reeves provided this statement to The Modesto Bee: “Injury caused on city streets is regrettable and most often avoidable, and in this incident, the city was unable to make timely repairs to one of our damaged sidewalks.”


Modesto spent $250,000 to settle the suit plus $36,500 in legal costs to defend the city, bringing the total cost to the city to $286,500.


All totaled, the city paid $2.3 million in the 2017 budget to resolve claims, suits and other actions. The city made 21 payments involving city trees or limbs falling into parked cars, fences and other property and 33 other payments involving city drivers hitting other vehicles or property.


The city spent $2 million to resolve the claims and $296,338 in legal expenses relating to those claims. The city’s insurance policy pays costs in excess of $1 million, but none of the claims exceeded the threshold, leaving the city on the hook for all the costs.


In one of the settlements, Modesto paid $4,697 to a woman whose car was broken into and damaged while being stored at the Police Department evidence lot. (Source: The Modesto Bee, July 29 and August 5.)

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