Visitor Question

Stepped on a roofing nail outside my apartment…

Submitted By: Scott (Chicago, IL USA)

One week ago I stepped on a two-inch rusty roofing nail on the walkway beside our apartment. I was wearing rubber, Croc-type slip-on shoes and the nail pierced the bottom of my foot, going approximately one inch into my foot. I went to the local emergency room and received treatment (cleaning, x-ray, pain medications, prescription for antibiotics). Now, one week later, the wound has healed quite well, but I have an intense pain in the big toe of the same foot.

I’m going to see my primary care physician next week to diagnose the toe pain. If it is nerve damage or in any way related to the puncture wound, I plan on seeking compensation for my doctor’s expenses and pain/suffering. The apartment where I live had a new roof put on about a month ago and the nail was not picked up when the crew cleaned up after the job.

What steps should I be following should I decide to seek compensation? Is the formula of 3x medical bills for a pain/suffering dollar amount applicable in this instance? Thanks in advance.

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.


Dear Scott,

Before you start calculating a settlement amount you have to do a few things:

First: Immediately notify your apartment complex management company about the incident. In the letter explain what happened. The manner in which you described the injury in your question is excellent. Of curse leave out the part about how much compensation you will be seeking. You want them to be on notice at the earliest possible time. Send the letter certified, return receipt requested.

Second: Request copies of your emergency room admitting papers and doctor’s chart. The admitting papers will prove the day and time you were admitted and for what type of injury. The doctor’s chart will include her prognosis and diagnosis for the injury.

Third: When you see your primary care physician ask her for a written medical narrative describing your injury and resulting nerve damage (if any). That document should also include the probability of future medical care, including the type and probable cost.

Fourth: If you have to miss any work make sure you ask your employer for verification of your lost wages.

Fifth: Make sure you make copies of any receipts for over the counter medicine, fees for parking at doctors’ offices, etc.

Put all that information together and “tab” the documents so you will have the individual documents separated and easy to understand. When you speak with the management company’s insurance representative make sure they have the “packet” of all the documents.

You may be a little low on the multiple. If the nail caused permanent nerve damage which will result in future pain or surgery your multiple demand amount should be more like 5x – 7x your medical bills and lost wages, referred to as “Specials”.

Learn more here: Apartment Complex Injury 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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