MANCHESTER — A 74-year-old woman will get a check from city government to cover her portion of medical bills stemming from injuries she suffered when she slipped on an unshoveled city sidewalk outside of Wal-Mart, a city official said.
The city’s Risk Management Office will pay Rachel Dumont $147 to cover her out-of-pocket expenses, said Kevin O’Neil, safety coordinator for the city.
“We looked at it. Even though there was no negligence on our part, it was easier just paying the $147,” he said. “It made it easier for everybody.”
Last March, Dumont slipped on a 40-foot section of sidewalk that was covered with ice and snow, she told the New Hampshire Union Leader last April. The sidewalk leads from a city bus stop to the driveway of the Keller Street Wal-Mart.
Only a portion of the sidewalk — 10 feet that is directly in front of the bus stop — is shoveled and cleared on a regular basis, according to the newspaper column. Neither the city, which owns the sidewalk, nor Wal-Mart clear the remainder.
Court rulings prohibit local government from requiring property owners to shovel their sidewalks.
Dumont’s alderman, Pat Long, has said the city should be responsible for shoveling the sidewalk and should pay her bill.
Dumont, who lives on Social Security and a small teacher pension, said the city called her about a week ago to say it would send a check to cover her co-pay.
“Anything I don’t have to spend, I’m happy about,” Dumont said. “Did they say ‘we feel guilty and we’re sorry?’ No.”
She said her co-pay was $158 of a $3,200 hospital bill.
Dumont had also asked Wal-Mart to cover her bill. She said the company sent her a letter and asked her to call a telephone number, where she would get her answer.
“The letter is still sitting in my pocketbook,” she said. “They can sit on it.”