Visitor Question

Fell Down Steps and Broke Ankle…

Submitted By: Alice (New York)

While on vacation in NY state, I was coming out of the cabin and slipped and fell down the steps. It was raining, the stairs were very wet, and there was a railing but no treads on the steps.

I was taken by ambulance to a hospital. I sustained 3 fractures in my ankle and a dislocated tibia. I’ve been out of work 6 weeks and I’m still in a cast. I am not getting paid or receiving disability. My health insurance is covering most of my care.

I’ve contacted the property’s insurance company and they will pay my doctor co-pays and medications up to $5,000. They said they do not cover lost wages and out of pocket expenses. Someone told me there were no code violations so I would not have a case beyond what they cover. Do I possibly have a case for those extra expenses and pain and suffering?

I probably have a another 2 months before I can return to work. My leg will not be fully healed for 6-8 months (longer if I do end up with the surgery). Is this worth pursuing?

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 Alice,

You may have a case for additional compensation from the owners and management of the cabins. From the tenor of your statement it appears you may reside outside of New York State. That could pose a practical problem in pursuing the cabin owners and management for your civil remedies.

Inasmuch as the cabin owners or management have already told you the compensation will be limited to your doctor co-pays and medicals up to $5,000, it would appear that is all they are willing to offer.

There are a couple of ways to induce them into paying more…

Write a letter explaining the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your fall on their slippery grounds. Explain to them the amount they are offering is not sufficient. Then demand an additional amount. The additional amount might be an extrapolation of your medical bills. Multiplying your medical bills by 3x is the usual and customary manner in which pain and suffering may be initially determined.

If they will not agree, try and negotiate a lesser amount. Maybe they will agree to it.

The problem you may have is lack of “leverage”. If you don’t live in NY state and they will not cooperate, your only alternative would be to file suit against them. To do so you would either have to retain local counsel or go to NY State yourself a to file the lawsuit. Either way the lawsuit would have to be filed in the county in which the cabin is located.

You should be entitled to additional compensation. Don’t give up. Persistence may be the key to prevailing.

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: October 11, 2011

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