I was carrying a couple oxygen tanks up the stairs when my sandals slipped under the rug edge which pitched me forward, the tanks swung me around which caused me to fall backwards onto the step the goes up into the neighboring condo. I now have back damage. One disc has very minor posterior bulging but the lower disk has diffuse posterior bulging with a small disc protrusion. I was told it would never heal back to what it was and that I would probably have problems the rest of my life. Since this happened they have checked all the condo landings and I know they have fixed at least 15 of them. I've never been one to sue anybody but this is going to be a life long issue. I'm only 57. What if I don't have insurance that lasts till I'm 65 and can get Medicare?
Slip/Trip and fall cases can be very difficult. You've described a premises hazard that lead to your back injury, which to many people may seem like enough to have a "strong case." However, premises liability cases have a lot of hurdles. Just from what you typed, a couple of issues that may come up that could lead to a defense include:
1) Wearing sandals while carrying 02 tanks;
2) The fact that you lived at the condo (if I am reading this right), which means that it is an area you probably traversed frequently. If you had seen the problem with the edges of the rug than you had notice of the hazard.
However, you may very well have a case, especially since the problem was so widespread. I would need to learn quite a bit more before rendering an opinion. You should preserve the sandals you were wearing, and hopefully there are photos of the rug before it was tacked down. If not, take photos of other landings that have not been fixed within the condo. If you have no photos of the rug before it was tacked down, take photos of the condition it is in now.
I would strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney in your area of Florida, so that he or she can gather more info and give you a more fact specific opinion. Based on the limited amount of information, I feel like there is enough for you to want to explore your legal options further. Best of luck.
You should consult with an attorney in your area who handles premises liability claims as soon as possible. I hope you took photographs of the defect before they repaired it. I could write a lengthy answer about the problems we often encounter pursuining these claims, but the best thing to do is contact an attorney in your area who can sit down with you face to face, ask you more questions about the facts, and explain the law in person. You may be able to recover, but it is difficult to provide guidance without the ability to ask you more questions. A consultation with an attorney will be free and representation would likely be on a contingency basis, which means you wouldn't owe anything unless the attorney recovers for you. Look for an attorney who has experience handling this type of claim. I wish you the best of luck.
The Condo Association has an obligation to keep the common areas safe . The stairs would be within their area to periodically inspect and to correct any potential tripping hazards.
You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney ASAP. There are always questions of "comparative negligence" ( the defendant claims the injured person was totally or partially at fault for his own injuries) and an experienced practioner will address those areas as well as acting quickly to gather and preserve evidence.
If you have already reported this injury to the Assoc., make sure you don't give any statements to any insurance persons until you have consulted with an attorney.
It sounds like the association was negligent in failing to maintain the stairs. It also sounds like you were negligent in carrying the tanks up the stairs while wearing sandals.
Trip and fall cases are almost always an issue of comparative negligence. The percentage of your own negligence reduces your recoverable damages. For example, if the jury thinks that carrying Oxygen tanks up the stairs while wearing sandals represents 40% of the cause of the fall, you get only 60% of your damages.
I suggest that you post no further details about the happenstance itself.You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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