Cut my foot on dangerous door...

by Lisa

One week ago, after having lived in our apartment for just over a week, I was injured. When leaving the apartment through the front door to take my dog for a walk, the door, which automatically shuts, started to shut before I was all the way out. A very jagged and bent piece of metal, at the end of the bottom corner of the door, sliced the top of my foot open.

I cleaned the very deep wound and drove to the ER where I was checked and given 16 stitches to close it up. I cannot walk without crutches as I was instructed not to put weight on the foot. My husband reported the incident to the management office and they are going to replace the bottom strip of the door.

Yesterday I returned to the ER for them to look at the wound because it was getting very red. Diagnosis was infection and they added another antibiotic to the one I was already on.

We do not want to inflame the apartment management unnecessarily. Could they try to evict us? We are not litigious people and do have renters insurance and good health insurance. What can I do next? I have photos and video of the door and photos of my injury before treatment. Any direction you can give would be helpful. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Cut my foot on dangerous door...":

Lisa (California):

Issue 1. You can not be evicted for filing an insurance claim with the apartment owner's liability insurance company. You can only be evicted if you violate the terms of the lease agreement.

Issue 2. While you can certainly file your injury claim with your own insurance company, before doing so contact the landlord or owner of the building and tell them you want to file an injury claim with their liability insurance company. From the facts you present, there doesn't seem to be any reason they would not cooperate.

The property owner had a legal "duty of care" to take all reasonable steps to be sure the property was safe for tenants and other persons legally upon the property. By not timely repairing the door, the property owner breached his or her legal duty of care.

That breach is referred to as negligence. The negligence became the proximate cause of your injuries and resulting damages, including medical costs, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages (if applicable), and an additional amount for pain and suffering.

Issue 3. Hopefully, at the time of your injury you contacted the landlord or property owner and an incident report of some kind was generated. If so, the owner or landlord will know your injury happened as a result of the door, and not as a result any other activity.

Issue 4. Make copies of the photos of the door and protruding jagged metal, as well as your medical records and bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and a wage verification letter from your employer (stating the days you missed and the corresponding loss of wages). Submit these copies to the landlord or owner of the property.

Issue 5. In the event the property owner or landlord will not cooperate, you can always file a small claims lawsuit against them. Once again, doing so will not subject you to eviction.

In the State of California, the jurisdictional limit (maximum amount) a party can sue for in small claims court is $10,000.00. To access forms and related information about California's Small Claims Court procedure go to the California Courts website.

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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