Fell in hole in yard...

by Susan
(Indio, CA)

I fell in a hole in the back yard that was covered with dead grass and broke my wrist. The landlord was notified of the fall and the subsequent need for a plate and 10 pins in my wrist by my doctor. I had the surgery to fix my wrist.

The accident happened 11-15-2014. Both landlords are my husband's brothers. They never did anything to fix the holes. My husband, fearing I would fall, previously tried to fill in as many of the holes as he could find so I would not fall again.

The reason I hadn't come forward sooner was because I feared retaliation from the landlords. The property is currently in escrow for a new owner, but I believe the landlord who was there at the time of the accident would have evicted me.

Do I have a valid case? What am I supposed to do? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Fell in hole in yard...":

Susan (Indio, CA):

Landlords have a legal duty of care to make their premises safe for tenants and others legally on the property. This is referred to as premises liability.

The landlord may be liable if he knew, or should have know the backyard had holes which posed a danger to you. For him to know the holes were there, you as the tenant would have had to notify the landlord so he had sufficient time to repair them, or you would need some other proof the landlord had prior knowledge the hole existed.

It is likely the landlord had property liability insurance. If so, ask him to assist you in filing a claim. If the landlord won't cooperate, you should consider retaining a personal injury attorney to handle your case. Your injuries are too serious to for you to handle the matter in your own.

If the landlord was insured at the time of your fall, an attorney will be able to do all that is legally possible to settle your claim for an amount representing your damages. This can include your medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation. Gather copies of your medical bills, receipts for your expenses, and a letter from your employer verifying the amount of time you were off work and the wages you lost.

After visiting with several personal injury attorneys you will have a better idea of the viability of your claim, the approximate time it should take to resolve it, and the approximate amount of compensation you will eventually receive.

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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