The Duck Test

Johann F. Szautner, PE, Civil Engineer ::::

Case Synopsis: On a February evening, a lady went to a hospital to visit a friend. She mistakenly entered the emergency area in lieu of the hospital lobby and was directed to an exterior stairway leading to the lobby. While descending the stairs, she stepped off the bottom step, lost her balance and fell. She claimed that she slipped on ice; her allegation apparently passed the duck test and the hospital was sued. During the investigation, it was quickly discovered that this fall event failed the duck test, as the facts revealed a classic “everything is not what it seems to be” case.

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