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Who is responsible here? Negligence, Other Injury

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by tpajet, Apr 27, 2010.

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  1. tpajet

    tpajet Law Topic Starter New Member

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    On Thursday my wife was picking our son up from his pre-school. On the sidewalk is a water valve (one of the deals with the round cover about 6 inches in diameter.) The cover is not flush with the concrete, but rather sits about 1 1/2 inches below the sidewalk level. As she was walking the heel of her shoe went down into this, and she fell. Turns out she broke a bone in her hand.

    So far she's been to the ER, and has an appointment with a hand doctor tomorrow, but there will be follow ups. When she went to the ER she used our regular health insurance, and plans to do so with the hand doctor. However, the question then comes up about the deductibles, which are $50 for the ER, and $30 for each hand doctor visit.

    The pre-school so far has been less than forthcoming with their insurance info, and are saying that they only lease the property, and that this would fall on the landlord. But they also don't seem to want to give out his/her contact info.

    We are waiting until we have a better list of bills to pursue this further with them. I can see their point, since the landlord would be responsible for maintenance, but at the same time they are the operator of the business. So, who do we go after?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You could sue either, but most people would sue them jointly.

    It would be up to each to defend.

    Problem for you will be damages.

    You'll have less than $200-300 out of pocket when this ends.

    It could even be less.

    Most small claims filings cost between $100-200. Then an additional $100-200 for service of an attachent to execute your judgement if you prevail.

    My advice would be to see if she will have a normal recovery.

    If she does, let it go.

    Every event in life isn't worthy (or cost effective) of a lawsuit.

    I hope your wife heals and recovers with normal usage of her hand.
     
  3. tpajet

    tpajet Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We really weren't looking to sue. They should have insurance to cover such things. So I guess it would be more of an insurance claim. But who's insurance? And if it is the tenant (the pre-school) we would even be willing to ask that they knock off a week or two (depending on our cost) of tuition.

    If the insurance route doesn't work out, then we will probably let it go, but I'm not certain who is truly responsible, and hence who we need to call.
     
  4. tpajet

    tpajet Law Topic Starter New Member

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    One more thing - If our health insurance found out this was due to a slip and fall (so to speak) would they be able to come back and deny the claim. I'm thinking no, but I've been told they can, claiming that we should have filed with the school's insurance. But at the same time I have doubts as to the credibility of the person telling me this. But stranger things have happened.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No, it is an injury.

    They sometimes do try to deny or subrogate injuries caused by auto accidents.
     
  6. tpajet

    tpajet Law Topic Starter New Member

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    OK. Now back to the original question - who's responsible, the landlord or the tenant?
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Responsibilty has not been proven.
    You would assert that one (or perhaps both) of them could be liable.

    The city might actually be liable.
    But governments have sovereign immunity.

    Your wife's shoes could be the proximate cause of her injuries.

    Your wife could be found to have been inattentive.

    In fact, doesn't Florida have contributory negligence?

    That changes everything.

    Nothing is proven until litigated and adjudicated.

    People sometimes compromise, just as you suggested in order to settle and move on.

    Fault can't be inferred, it is a legal conclusion that must be proven.
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Personal opinion... your wife is responsible. This is something for your own insurance to cover.
     
  9. ems2cents

    ems2cents New Member

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    I agree with Army Judge and I would add this: Responsibility is either determined by the parties and settled or by a judge. The only other "party" you have contacted that could be involved is not giving you information. It would seem that the other parties are waiting to see if you make the next move (legal) before they take the next step.

    You weren't clear as to whether the sidewalk/water valve is actually part of the private property or outside of the property like adjacent to a street. This would be a critical point.
     
  10. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    Army you are such a lawyer (your wife's shoes might be the proximate cause) why didn't you break out contributory negligence! Oh wait, you did!

    Army is right, but why don't you write to each of the above City water, tenant, and landlord and say, "I don't want to sue but I do want someone to cover my medical bills." Will you file this on your insurance and I won't sue. See who bites.
     

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