Condo Association Refusing to Pay Medical Bills for Fall in the Parking Lot...
My mother fell in the parking lot of her condo complex on a small area that had sunk in and made a dip in the pavement. It had been like this for over a year.
I am not sure if any of the residents had complained to the condo association about it, but after she fell and broke her toe (and was in a cast for six weeks with much pain), the association finally repaired the sink hole.
My mother wrote the association a letter asking for them to pay for the out-of-pocket medical expenses she incurred - $150 - due to their negligence in not repairing the hole in a timely manner.
They wrote her back that they were not negligent and although it was not a large expense, that by paying her they would be setting a precedent for anyone to sue them if they should fall on the premises and that would be a grave mistake.
They also claimed that several meetings were held and emails exchanged four months before her fall regarding paving the entire parking lot as well as repairing the hole, finding a appropriate contractor, etc. (They used the most popular contractor on the entire south shore by the way.)
Should she sue them for the $150 and pain and suffering, or does she not have a leg to stand on? It doesn't seem right that they deny her claim for injuries, especially since the dip in the pavement was there for a long time. What are some options here? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Condo Association Refusing to Pay Medical Bills for Fall in the Parking Lot...":
Jenna (Dorchester, MA):
Take out your mother's Condo Homeowners Association Rules and Bylaws. Sometimes condo bylaws waive responsibility for injuries sustained in the common area, including sidewalks, roads, etc. If that's the case, your mother may be not have a strong claim.
In the alternative, if there is no mention of a waiver for personal injurers sustained in the common area, your mother may have a very strong case. The owner or manager of a premises has a legal duty to keep it clear of dangerous conditions which might result in injuries to persons legally on the property.
The fact that the condo association sent out numerous emails shouldn't matter. Quite the contrary, those emails will be in your mother's favor. The emails prove the condo association had plenty of notice to repair the dangerous condition and failed to do so.
The condo association can't use as an excuse the fact they were accepting bids, or otherwise trying to find the right contractor for the job.
Your mother seems to have a strong case, not only for the excess of her medical bills in the amount of $150.00 dollars, but also for all her medical bills, whether covered by insurance or not. In addition, your mother has a right to be reimbursed for her out of pocket expenses like medications, crutches, wheelchair, and even the costs of parking at her doctor's office.
If your mother was working and then was unable to work as a result of the injury, she also has a right to reimbursement for her lost wages. Finally, your mother has a right to be compensated for her pain and suffering.
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,
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