Can I sue my landlord for falling down stairs that are a hazard?

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Can I sue my landlord for falling down stairs that are a hazard?

I fell down the stairs and hit my head and back. I went to the hospital and had a bump on my head and contutions on my back with scratches. The stairs are decrepit and cracked concrete; they are step with no railing. Now my back neck and head hurts.

Asked on August 17, 2011 New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the stairs were not maintained in a safe way, and the landlord should have been aware of the potential hazard (i.e. they were obviously cracked or slippery or etc.) and also the problem with the stair is what caused your fall--then you may have a legal claim or cause of action.

However, in a personal injury case, you can typically only recover for your out-of-pocket medical costs (i.e. not the portion picked up by insurance, medicare/caid, etc.), pain and suffering for significant, long lasting, or disabling injuries, or other out-of-pocket losses (e.g. lost wages, if  you couldn't work). If  you had little in the way of medical costs, didn't lose much wages, and are experiencing only moderate pain which should resolve soon, it's probably not worth suing; it's only worth suing if you suffer enough injury or costs to make it economically worthwhile.


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