Slip and Fall Inside My Own Apartment...
April 5th I was inside my apartment and fell on a flooded hallway on a very hard surface which caused a major injury. I fractured my left shoulder, tore a tendon in my lower back pain and sustained neck injuries.
I first thought the leak came from the bathroom as there was water everywhere and I didn't know exactly where the water came from. I was in way too much pain to even think of that, other than to get my mom to come get me. My 14 year old daughter who had just got home from school heard me scream and called my mom. I had my mom call my Homeowners Insurance company to see if they covered personal injury so I knew where I should go (knowing that if you go to through the emergency room in a hospital it's much more expensive).
The Homeowners insurance company asked questions regarding how it happened and my mom, not really knowing, said it was from the bathroom since there was water in the bathroom (which is right next to the air conditioning unit, which was where the actual leak came from!)
So the statement the insurance company received was inaccurate until we got home and were able to inspect the actual location. Since my mom called she did not file any claim as it needs to be the homeowner themselves who start a claim, and I didn't even know the extent of my injuries at that time. I just wanted to know if I was covered.
My daughter cleaned up the mess and water but I advised her to take pictures with her cell phone and camera to show clearly where the leak was coming from. I did not report it to maintenance as I was in the Urgent Care facility and that was the last thing on my mind. I did eventually call the office and they came to inspect it and said they don't have time to care for every unit as there are over 300 units.
In my lease though it says they are not responsible for personal injuries but I feel this is their fault as this is the 3rd incident. I had a roof leak last year and an air conditioner leak that caused damage (but luckily no injuries).
So who is at fault? And should I sue the apartment complex and hire an attorney?
I already had the insurance company from the complex contact me 2x to get a statement but I have avoided their calls until I contact an attorney. My lease is up soon and I'm afraid they may not renew me if I do sue (or raise my rent to where it will be unaffordable).
If it states in the lease they are not responsible for personal injury, even though I feel this is neglect by the complex by not maintaining their property, what should I do and who is at fault?
After four days I did report a claim to the complex and my homeowners insurance, stating that I spent three days in and out of hospitals and my Orthopedist. I am more concerned about my injuries and who is going to pay for them and my pain and suffering and possible surgery? I am bedridden and the Orthopedist said it could take three to six months.
Any advice you can give to help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always
get a formal case review
from a licensed attorney in your area.
ANSWER for "Slip and Fall Inside My Own Apartment...":
Do not be “bamboozled” by your apartment complex owners, management, or insurance carrier. They cannot simply “disclaim” injuries suffered on their premises. Let’s review a few things...
In Florida common law there is a legal term called “Warranty of Habitability”. Basically it means if someone is renting, leasing, or inviting you as a guest on their premises, especially if you are paying rent, you have a right to be safe in and around your apartment complex.
There are a few exceptions.
1. Presume you are living in an apartment and the built-in dishwasher broke. In the lease it expressly disclaims any warranty of any type to repair the broken dishwasher.
(1a) A clause like that would be a reasonable and valid disclaimer and once you signed the lease you should be aware of such a disclaimer.
2. In the same lease it expressly disclaims any warranty for injuries you or your guests might sustain as a result of flooding caused by a faulty hot water heater inside your apartment.
(2a) A clause in the lease might also be a valid disclaimer as it would be arguable as a tenant you should have contacted management at the first evidence of a leak; that you as a tenant had some type of control over your destiny, whether you could have checked it once in a while, or to report to management at the first sign of a leak.
3. In the same lease it disclaims liability for injuries you might sustain from a flood occurring in the hallway outside of your apartment.
(3a) A clause in the lease like this should NOT be able to be disclaimed. As a tenant you had no control over the cause of the flooding (presuming you did not). The law states you have a right to be safe in your premises and in the common area outside your apartment.
You had neither responsibility, nor duty to maintain the common area for 300 apartments, including your own. Therefore the Warranty of Habitability would work in your favor and against ownership or management. You have a right to be reasonably safe and secure in and around your apartment and ownership or management can not take that away through a “Disclaimer”.
You should not worry about you or your mother having inadvertently reported to management the suspected cause of the flood. As long as you did not cause the flood the owners or management (or both) are responsible for your injuries
Some personal injury cases do not always need the assistance of a highly skilled personal injury attorney. In your case we highly recommend you seek the advice and counsel of one.
So far from the facts you present you have not made any mistakes which might adversely affect any claim you have. We strongly suggest you say nothing and sign nothing before seeking the advice of counsel. A qualified and highly skilled Personal Injury Attorney will guide you through the process of recovering for your injuries, and possible 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,
P.S. Please help us out by sharing this site...