Visitor Question

Premises Liability and Personal Injury on Stairs…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I have contacted my landlord several times and told him my stair railing is broken. Last week I fell down the stairs carrying a laundry basket and my foot popped.

Well here I am a week later with my whole foot and part of my leg in a cast and unable to take any job offer. What should I do?

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 Anonymous,

Hopefully you have kept some record of your contacts with the landlord. If the contact was by letters then make copies. If in person, and you noted the date and person you spoke with, that would be helpful as well. If you simply called the landlord several times and you did so from your cell phone you should be able to go back and confirm the date and time of each call.

Next, gather copies of your medical bills and any out of pocket expenses such as bandages, pain medication, and other pharmaceutical expenditures. You should approximate gasoline costs for doctors’ appointments and even parking lot fees.

You should attempt to calculate the future medical bills associated with the removal of the cast and other related medical treatment. If you were working at the time and as a result of the injury have been unable to work, you should note the days missed and amount of wages lost. If you were not working at the time of the injury you will probably not be able to recover any amount for lost wages. The fact that you are unable to seek work now is unfortunate, but not recoverable.

Once you have collected all of the information you should compose a certified letter to the landlord requesting actual damages for past and future medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and an additional amount for pain and suffering.

Because there is no accurate way to measure pain and suffering your demand for reimbursement should reflect an amount higher than your actual medical bills. That amount is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to multiply your past and future medical bills by three. That would be a good point within which to begin settlement negotiations.

If you are unable to satisfactorily reach a settlement you will need to file a lawsuit. Doing so will require some expertise, as it is highly probable once you file suit your landlord will be represented by an attorney.

Always keep in mind there is a Statute of Limitations for certain lawsuits. Statute of Limitations is the amount of time you have to either settle your case or file a lawsuit. For personal injury suits the normal time is 2 years from the date of the injury. Failure to settle your case or file suit within the 2 years time period may result in your forfeiting any rights of recovery.

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: March 16, 2011

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