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broken ankle, do I have a case? Premises Liability

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by trixlette, Sep 20, 2009.

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  1. trixlette

    trixlette Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was walking down this sidewalk, at 8am, kinda dark and cloudy out, as it had been raining off and on. At the end of the walkway was a box of clothing that I was there to pick up, was told to come and get it. I had never been here before. I know NOW I can clearly see the water main there, there was leaves, and debris, and sticks in it, that kinda made it appear to be even with the cement. but honestly when I walked down to the end there I just saw the box, and didn't pay attention to the water main there. I picked up the box, and started back towards my van. When I got to the water main, I inadvertently stepped in it, twisting my leg, and trying to compensate for the fall, and the box in my arms, I broke my ankle in 3 places, I heard it snap. NO one was around, I yelled for help for 10 minutes. I had to get on my right side and drag my self to my van, inch by inch. I finally made it to my van, and with my right foot (thank goodness it wasn't a stick shift, lol) started to drive myself to the hospital. All the while in great pain, and my other ankle was also injured and it was swelling up as I was driving. Halfway to the hospital I saw an ambulance, and flagged them down and they took me the rest of the way there. They took x-rays, and it was broken in 3 spots. I had to have a steel plate put in and about 9 screws.

    My question is this, even though I walked past the water main, not paying it much attention, do I have any case here, seeing as others think it might have been obvious? (to me it wasn't) We see things like this every day, they are all over the place, water mains, crooked sidewalks, stairs, benches...and even though we kinda see them or know they are there, do not associate them with imminent danger. Anyway, I just want to know if it is worth my time to look into this, or should I just chalk it up, and take the rest of my life to pay off the medical bills for this?

    The house was actually a duplex, so I don't think the lady that invited me over to get the box of clothing owns this place, there was about 20 duplex' all in a row side by side all looking the same.
     
  2. dee_dub

    dee_dub Moderator

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    That first picture - is that person pointing at the "water main" you stepped in? Is that the way it's supposed to be? Looks like there is broken cement and pavers around it.
     
  3. trixlette

    trixlette Law Topic Starter New Member

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    No that is not the way it suppose to be, the cement has somehow decayed or been chipped away around the water main, and the water main is sunken into the cement about 3-4 inches below the surface of the cement and tipped slightly towards those red decorative bricks. I contacted the lady that gave me the box of clothes to pick up there, and she told me she and her and her husband have asked their landlord no less than 3 times in writing to fix that problem, and he has not. And they are moving soon because of that and other things the landlord refuses to fix inside the duplex as well. Even though those people live there, know it's there, they still trip in it as well.

    Here is another picture, later in the afternoon, while I was in surgery, my daughter and her friend went back there and removed the debris that was covering the water main, to take the pictures. If you see there is a bit of mud and some water left from the earlier rain in the side closest to the decorative bricks. YOu can see how the sidewalk is all chipped and broken and the water main is kinda sunken in there.
     
  4. dee_dub

    dee_dub Moderator

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    I don't know how successful you'll be, but I'd at least talk to a personal injury attorney. You should be able to find one that will give you a free or cheap initial consult.
     
  5. NY_Shark

    NY_Shark New Member

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    Personally I think you do have a case. Hire a lawyer that will work on a contingency basis (most PI attorneys will do this) and they will only be payed if you are. You settle, the lawyer gets his 30%, everyone's happy. Give it a shot.
     
  6. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    I totally agree with NY on this one. The water meter is in the middle of the sidewalk, and it is NOT the public sidewalk as I first thought but it is an impediment in the sidewalk leading to the house. It is not flush with the ground as it should be, it was partially obscured by leaves, and houses have home owner's insurance. You can do one of two things:

    1. Make a claim against the homeowner's insurance by sending a letter to the homeowner telling them that they need to submit your claim to their insurance or face a law suit. You probably will not even ask for as much as the attorney will get you.

    2. Get an attorney and let him/her do a claim against the homeowner's insurance.

    I would, as NY said, do the 2nd one.

    JH
     

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