Posted 09 January 2014 - 07:22 PM
On January 7,2014 I live in an apartment on the third floor, I went down stairs to exit the building but the front door was frozen shut because of the snow not being removed, So I went back up three flights of stairs to exit out of the back door. I step over a huge snow drift and proceeded to go down the snow covered stairs ( it had not snowed in a few days and the maintenance man lives in the building) I fell down 8 stairs and hit the landing so http://thepersonalinjurydirectory.com/blog/palm-desert-accident-injury-lawyer/ hard I saw stars (did not hit my head). I went to the Hospital and had xrays done but nothing was broken. This is my dilemma, on 8/8/12 I had back surgery, before surgery I was experiencing right leg numbness and tingling, felt like my leg was always sleeping and on occasions I would trip over my feet. My sciatica nerve was being pinched by my lumbar spine. These bone was missing the cushion in between, grinding together and causing crippling lower back pain. My Dr stressed that I needed surgery before the nerve is permanently damaged and I would be in a wheel chair the rest of my life. I have 6 screws and 2 brackets separating the bones with some type of infusion. After the surgery it took a long time just to be able to get out of bed. I wear a custom brace and Ted hose always. I am always still in pain and my leg hurts and swell if I sit to long. I can barely walk three city blocks, and on many occasions I have woken up in pain. I need assistance getting in and out of the tub and getting dressed.Back to the issue, I fell and now I am hurting like I just had surgery. I have spoken with 2 lawyers and each one said that I do not have a case. But my question is if it is the landlord's responsibility to keep the entrances to the building clear isn't it her fault that I did not have a clear entrance or exit and that she should be responsible for my fall. On 1/8/14 the maintenance guy shoveled the snow off of the back which is used to take out the trash and moving furniture in and out. The landlord has not checked on me to see if I am ok. I thought it was the responsibility of the home owner to keep certain areas clean and free of anything that could cause injury. Because the front door was frozen shut because the maintenance did not do his part by shoveling the snow I had to go out the back, what if there was I fire I would have been stuck.
Help I need compensation for my fall.
Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:57 AM
You've already had two lawyers tell you that you "do not have a case," and will or should be the starting point for anyone responding here on this message board. Keep in mind, by the way, that both of those lawyers knew the state where this happened, whereas we don't. That's important because sometimes state law varies on this sort of thing. Those lawyers also probably had a better idea of the relevant facts that we can get from a post on a message board. So now I'm wondering why those lawyers told you you don't have a viable case. By the way, it tells me something about you that your injury occurred only two days ago (as of the time you posted) and you've already started calling lawyers without apparently having reached out to your landlord to discuss the matter.
Your landlord probably does have a legal duty to clear the path to the doors. The problem is that your injury didn't result from the landlord's failure to clear a path. Your injury resulted from your voluntary decision to "step over a huge snow drift" and (apparently) to do so right at the top of a staircase. While I don't live in a snowy area, I do have enough experience with snow to know that what you did carried a great risk. So that's one problem.
Your other problem is that you had a pre-existing condition, which will make it very easy for the landlord to argue that your current pain is attributable to your pre-existing condition, and not your fall down the stairs. It's also not clear how much your current injuries are worth.
All of that makes your case risky. As you may be aware, personal injury lawyers almost always work on contingency, which means they don't get paid until and unless you recover something. Let's say your case would involve 100 hours of work for a lawyer and that the lawyer could otherwise bill $250 per hour for that time. That means that, in order for it to be worthwhile for the lawyer to take your case on a 1/3 contingency, the lawyer has to be confident that you'll recover at least $75k (and that doesn't even take into account that a lawyer might advance on your behalf). Is your case worth that much? I have no idea. Is it certain that you'd win if you sued? No. Obviously, you can change the numbers around, but I hope you get the point.
So, when a lawyer tells you that you don't have a good case, he/she is thinking about more than just whether the other party breached some duty to you. Of course, the lawyer ought to explain that to you ("Yes, your case is good in theory, but....").
Here's one thing you ought to do: contact your landlord and ask about insurance. It's possible (even likely) that the landlord has insurance that will pay some amount (maybe $5-10k) without regard to liability simply because you were injured on the property. Beyond that, you're obviously free to keep talking with personal injury lawyers to see if someone wants to take a shot.
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