Puncture wound from an exposed nail at the outdoor pool...

by A
(Cleveland, Ohio)

My 8 year old daughter was in the pool and stepped on an exposed nail at our apartment complex. I immediately took her to the ER where she was diagnosed, treated and discharged. No further medical treatment is needed, but I want to move because now she is terrified of getting into the pool.

The pool was the main reason I chose this rental community over every other place to rent in the area. I pay significantly more in rent than my last rental where there was no pool. I have 11 months left on my 12 month lease.

Can I break my lease without penalty? And do I have a personal injury case for mental anguish pain or suffering? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Puncture wound from an exposed nail at the outdoor pool...":

A (Cleveland, Ohio):

While your daughter's injury is unfortunate, the injury in and of itself does not constitute legally sufficient grounds to terminate your lease. It is likely, if you decide to break your lease agreement, you will suffer the same legal consequences as would another tenant who illegally breaks his or her lease agreement.

All of this presumes you signed a standard Ohio landlord-tenant agreement, such as this. Like most landlord-tenant agreements, this one is written in favor of the landlord, and not the tenant.

In your daughter's case, you, on behalf of your daughter, retain the right to pursue a civil personal injury claim against the landlord.

Every landlord has what's called a "legal duty of care" to do everything reasonably possible to make the premises safe for tenants. In your case, it can be successfully argued the landlord breached his or her duty of care by leaving an exposed nail close to the swimming pool.

This breach of duty is even more egregious, because the landlord knew, or should have known tenants would likely be walking around the pool in their bare feet.

On behalf of your daughter, you have a right to demand reimbursement for her medical bills, out of pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, costs of transportation to and from the hospital, etc.) your lost wages directly related to the injury, and your daughter's pain and suffering.

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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