Visitor Question

Middle finger broken by dumpster door…

Submitted By: Sandra (Raleigh, NC, USA)

I was at my son’s apartment complex and I took the trash to the community industrial dumpster. The steel door is a pull down (hinged at bottom), but the springs were broke with no notification. So when I pulled the door open, it just fell, crushing 3 of my fingers between the steel handle and the concrete.

The middle finger is broken and the nerve was crushed. I’ve already been to a surgeon. The finger is splinted and we’re waiting to see if it heals properly. I was told by the doctor the nerve should be “unshocked” in about 3 weeks. I may need physical therapy after that. I work as a print production specialist and do computer work.

The apartment complex was notified several times about the problem and other people experienced injuries. They said they called the company responsible for the trash equipment to have it fixed prior to my injury and that they (the trash company) should be responsible. At this point I think they both failed to secure safety. Who is liable here? What can be done? 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 Sandra,

The apartment complex is wrong. While it may be true the trash equipment company is also liable, the landlord is the primary negligent party. The apartment owner and management have a legal “duty of care” to make the complex safe for its tenants and their visitors.

If the trash bin had just broken at or around the time of your injury, and the landlord hadn’t had time to take it out of service or have it repaired, then the landlord might not be liable for your injuries. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. The landlord had plenty of notice and still failed to take action to prevent tenants like yourself from injury.

Your injury is serious enough to require the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Most won’t charge for an initial office consultation. Make copies of your medical records and bring them with you when you visit with several attorneys. In the interim, be sure to follow up with your treatment.

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: July 10, 2013

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