Visitor Question

Liability for Breaking My Ankle on Damaged and Slippery Steps?

Submitted By: Vernon (Brooklyn, NY)

Three months ago I slipped in my apartment building and broke my ankle. I ended up needing surgery which lasted five hours.

This all happened because my landlord did not repair a step that had been broken for a month. The step had a note sitting on it the whole time. Also, the building’s cleaning person was not doing her job and didn’t clean grease which was on the floor from garbage.

Of course the repair work and cleaning was done within 8 hours after my accident.

Do I have a personal injury case or are they free from liability because there was a note on the step? I think they should be held responsible for not maintaining the step or cleaning, and should certainly pay for my surgery. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Vernon,

You certainly have the right to seek compensation from three possible entities. They are:

-The landlord

-The building owner

-The cleaning service

Although the “Note” may provide some small defense for all three entities, if the step had been in disrepair for an unreasonable amount of time, or if the lighting wasn’t sufficient to see the note, that defense will be severely limited.

Your claim against the entities would be bolstered if you or other residents previously notified one or all of the entities about the damaged step. If you don’t know if other tenants previously contacted the entities you can go door to door and ask them. The more tenants who contacted the entities, the stronger your claim will become.

A successful claim against each separate entity could be based on a multiple of your medical bills. That multiple could be anywhere from 1.5x to 3x, 4x or higher. And because your claims would be independent ones against each entity you would be entitled to three different settlement amounts.

Although many injury claims can be pursued without the need for an attorney, your claim seems to require one due to its complications. Most personal injury attorneys don’t charge any fee for an initial office consultation. That should be your next step (pun intended ;-).

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

Best of luck,

Published: November 26, 2012

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