Broken Ankle from Passing Out at a Storage Unit...

by Lorri
(Torrance, California, USA)

I went to my boyfriend's storage unit with him. It was very hot inside, but I was drinking a bottle of water at the time. I was not doing any lifting but I started not to feel well so I decided to go outside. I went to the elevator, pushed the button and the next thing I remember I was on the floor and not able to get up. It turned out when I fell I broke my ankle and had a compound fracture.

I had surgery and spent a week in the hospital. After I got my cast off I went by the storage unit and asked to talk to the manager but she was not in. They said they would have her call me but she never did. I sent a letter, no response, I called no response, I sent another letter and the manager called and left me a message. I called her back and she said their insurance does not cover these types of accidents because I fainted.

I had all the tests, there is nothing wrong with me, and I have not fainted since. I think they are stalling because I only have 2 years to file a claim (it has not been 1 year yet). Should I hire an attorney? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Broken Ankle from Passing Out at a Storage Unit...":

Liability is based, not only on damages, but also on fault. Here as you have described, the facts do not necessarily give rise to fault. In order for the storage owners to be liable, they need to have created a dangerous condition or failed to remedy the same.

You have indicated that it was hot - so much so that you fainted. It is clear that the storage owners did not generate or create the heat, however perhaps your issue lies with the fact that they failed to properly cool the elevator with ventilation and/or an air conditioning unit.

I don't know if this is a scenario where the property owner is required to make sure that common areas are kept cool. This may be a classic "act of God" situation and property owners are generally not liable for these.

Acts of God are those situations outside of the property owner's control that create a dangerous or hazardous situation. In this case, the heat may very well be an act of God for which no liability rests.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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