Visitor Question

Slipped on wet floor of apartment building and fractured fibula.

Submitted By: Ryosuke (White Plains, New York)

I slipped on a wet floor inside of my apartment building’s backdoor. As a result, I was told that my left side fibula was fractured.

The fracture did not require surgery but it took 6 weeks to be completely healed. I needed a cane to walk.

The next day, I reported the incident to the management of the apartment via email, and suggested they place a floor mat to avoid the recurrence of a similar incident. In the email, I mentioned that the floor was slightly wet due to weather.

The building management accepted my suggestion and placed a floor mat inside the backdoor.

Please let me know if I am entitled to receive compensation for my injuries from the apartment management company.

Thank you.

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 Ryosuke,

We’re sorry to hear about your broken leg. In answer to your questions, you may be able to make a claim for injury compensation on a negligence theory.

Your success will depend on whether the apartment management company knew, or should have known of the dangerous wet floor before your slip and fall accident.

Negligence Theory

Under the legal doctrine of premises liability, owners and managers of apartment buildings are responsible for keeping their property safe from defects and dangerous conditions that could cause injuries. This obligation, or “duty of care,” means they must do everything reasonably possible to maintain a hazard-free environment.

In the context of wet floors, an apartment management company’s duty of care includes using wet floor signs or some similar type of warning when apartment building floors are slick from wet weather conditions. Management’s failure to place warning signs around wet and slippery areas represents a violation of their duty of care. This type of violation is considered negligence.

To be negligent, though, employees or management must have reasonably known about a wet floor prior to a fall and then have failed to take any remedy or make any warning of it.

If they didn’t have time to see the wet floor and place a caution sign, management is probably not considered negligent. Unless you can prove negligence, they don’t owe you any compensation for your injuries.

Here, we’d need some additional facts to determine if the company was negligent with any level of certainty. Negligence would seem likely if the company was aware of the wet floor for some time before your accident and failed to do anything about it.

If the floor you fell on often gets wet and slick when the weather is rainy or snowy, it may be that the apartment manager should have known that the floor could be hazardous.

If your apartment building has a surveillance video, you can request to review it before the time of your accident to see if anyone from the company saw the floor. If so, this is helpful evidence to establish a slip and fall negligence claim.

Compensation for Your Losses

If you can show negligence, then the management company is responsible for compensating you for your losses or damages.

Damages for slip and fall accidents can include:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Expected future medical expenses
  • Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for medications, crutches, etc.
  • Lost wages, including sick days and vacation time used during treatment
  • Future lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering

Contact an Injury Attorney for Help

We recommend that you contact a local attorney for help. A lawyer can help review case law to help determine how much notice a company has to have of a wet floor before an injury victim can say it was negligent.

A local attorney would also know of any city or county building codes that require slip-proof floor mats inside apartment building exterior doors.

An attorney can also help you obtain surveillance video if it exists.

Further, under New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules §214, an injury victim has three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you file an injury claim with the management’s insurance company, and the company denies it, then a lawyer will help make sure you file your suit within this time period.

The time period is referred to as a statute of limitations. If you bring a suit after the period expires, you lose your right to pursue compensation.

Learn more here: Wet Floor Slip and Fall Claims

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,

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