Can I sue my college for a fall that I took almost 2 years ago?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue my college for a fall that I took almost 2 years ago?

I’m a doctoral candidate living in graduate housing. The building was brand new when I moved in and at the time I was a supervisor working part-time for a delivery company. One evening shortly after move in, I threw on some flip flops and too the elevator to the lobby, exiting to the trash room with my bag of

garbage. It had been rainin, and on entering the lobby from having dropped my trash, I slipped on the hard, wet floor or surface where there were no floor mats. The fall landed me on my hip, which was already damaged due to service connected VA disability. Following the fall I’ve been unable to work and

had lost the job I had following the end of short term disability. There is a camera in the lobby that probably caught the fall; within days there were floor mats in the lobby. I have always suspected that they were installed either due to my slip or someone else’s. I honestly was more worried about being able to

complete my degree program and not having the money for consultation or retainer, have depended on VA disability as my sole income ever since. Do I still have legal recourse or did I wait too long to start suit?

Asked on June 20, 2018 under Personal Injury, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In your state, you have only two (2) years to file or start a lawsuit for personal injury, so depending on the exact time frame, you may still be in time--but running out of time if it was "almost 2 years ago." If you want to purse a claim, speak with an attorney NOW and get the case filed before more time passes.
Note that it is not a given that you will win: you write that it had been raining, so it is natural that the floor would be wet (no fault in it being wet); and you also write that you were wearing flip flops, which provide less traction and can be a tripping hazard. While that fact that they later put down mats *suggests* that there *may* be fault in not having had them, under the circumstances, a court could conclude that you falling had less to do with whether or not there were mats and more with you wearing flip flops whle it was raining. You could win, but the facts do not make for a certain case.
Also, you write that your hip was already damaged--even if you sue and win, you can only win compensation for the extent to which your hip was *further* damaged by this fall: to the extent your problems (e.g. inability to work) stem from the service-connected injury, the college is not liable or responsible for them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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