I suffered a fractured ankle and herniated disc. I had surgery on my ankle and back injections. I had injured my back in two car accidents 12 years ago. Do I have a case.
If you didn't before, you do now. No doubt, you will be flooded with offers from all sorts of attorneys looking to help you recover for your injuries. All jests aside, yes, you may have a basis to sue for your injuries sustained in the fall on the stairs depending upon how long ago the incident occurred. It is unusual for an incident involving the injuries you've described to have reached the stage that surgery and injections have already taken place without the possibility of a lawsuit having already been explored by an attorney. IF you have already had one or more such an evaluations and been told you "don't have a case", it is likely the information you receive here may be misleading because the attorneys here would not have the benefit of all the information. Nevertheless, if you haven't already done so (or you feel previous evaluations may have been lacking in some way), you should speak with a local attorney as soon as possible. You can find an attorney in your area by searching among the attorney profiles here on AVVO. Good luck!
The fact that you had prior injuries has no bearing on whether or not you have a meritorious case. The merits of the case will depend on whether there was an unsafe condition on the stairs that caused you to fall. Other concerns such as the presence of adequate hand rails, the lighting conditions and the geometry of the steps in question must also be investigated. Hopefully you were able to obtain photographs of the unsafe condition. It is important that you contact an attorney with experience in handling these types of cases so that the necessary evidence can be documented and preserved for trial. Obtaining fair compensation for a serious injury claim generally requires that the responsible party and their insurance company believe that you and your attorney will proceed to trial if necessary.
Property owners are responsible for injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property, which the owner either knew about or should have known about. The hazard may be obvious (such as ice on steps or a cracked staircase) or hidden (such as a hole in a lawn that is partially covered by grass). In some instances it may not be apparent, as in flooring that appears normal but is slippery. The dangerous condition could be permanent, such as broken concrete with a change in elevation, or temporary, such as a liquid spill in a supermarket aisle.
Generally, an owner will be considered to have knowledge of a dangerous or hazardous condition if it is permanent in nature, because the owner knew, or should have known, about the condition before the incident occurs.
In the case of temporary conditions (like a liquid spill or debris on the floor), the length of time that the condition existed before the incident occurred has legal significance. If the spill occurred just before the incident, then the property owner may not be liable for injury, because the owner could not have known about the spill (and would not have been able to do anything about it) before the injury occurred. If, however, the spill was present for some period of time before the incident, or occurred in an area subject to liquid spills, or is a recurring event in the area, then the owner may be liable, even if the owner did not know about the spill before it occurred.
One of the most common defenses is to deny the existence of any dangerous condition on the premises or to deny having timely knowledge of its existence. Keep in mind, that if you do start a lawsuit, the burden will be on you to prove your case. The defendant-property owner, can just sit back, keep quiet and say “PROVE IT”.
On the other hand, a defendant may argue as follows: There was no liquid on the floor in aisle five, and even if there were liquid on the floor, we did not know about it in time to take any action. Or the defendant may argue: The floor is specially designed to be slip resistant, even when wet.
Another common defense which I have confronted over the years, is to argue that you were careless or negligent in failing to observe the dangerous condition (the spill, the loose carpet, the step down, for example) and as a result, should either have all compensation denied or substantially reduced.
Another defense common to these types of cases, is to maintain that the incident did not cause you any new injuries or aggravate any pre-existing conditions or diseases. Sometimes this defense argues that any injury that did result from the incident was only temporary in nature.
I suggest you contact an attorney or law firm familiar with these type of accidents.
Get free answers from experienced attorneys.
25,575 answers this week
3,247 attorneys answering
Get answers from top-rated lawyers.
25,575 answers this week
3,247 attorneys answering