Fell off stairs with no railing...

by Shira
(Columbus, Ohio)

I fell off my back steps and was injured. The step did not have a railing. I've lived at my address for a year and have been asking my landlord for a rail but he's never installed it. I now have permanent scars on my elbow and both knees. I've been to the doctors had an x-ray done to prove my ankle was not broken. It is not broken but is badly sprained. I've also missed two days of work and I'm in lots of pain.

Is my landlord liable for all me medical bills and missed days from work? How do I prove it? Isn't it a violation of building code not to have a railing? Can he evict me if I sue him in court? I'm just kind of lost here and would appreciate any information you can give to point me in the right direction. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fell off stairs with no railing...":

Shira (Columbus, Ohio):

From the facts you present the landlord seems to be directly liable for your injuries and other "damages." Your damages can include your medical bills, out of pocket expenses for your medications, costs of transportation to and from treatment, and all other expenses directly related to your injury. Damages can further include your lost wages, and an amount for your pain and suffering.

Your case is very serious. Because of its seriousness you really need an attorney to pursue the landlord on your behalf. A permanent scar will never heal.

Take photos of the stairs. Speak with your neighbors to see if they either fell off the same steps, or filed a complaint with the landlord concerning the danger posed by the absence of a railing. Your attorney will likely use any witnesses you have.

Gather your medical records, medical bills, receipts for your out of pocket expenses, and a letter typed on your employer's letterhead. The letter should verify the days you were absent from work, and the amount of wages you lost as a result of your absence.

Your landlord can't evict you from your apartment unless you have breached a clause in your lease agreement. It's unlikely there's a clause stating your landlord can evict you for filing a lawsuit. Even if there was such a clause any court would strike it.

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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