Do I have a case to sue?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I have a case to sue?

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day while exiting the elevator in the building I live in, the elevator stopped and the door opened but the elevator was not stopped level with the main floor so as I stepped out I went down hard and my knee hyper extended backwards which caused me to fall to the floor. I just returned home from the emergency and now am sporting a nice splint from above my knee down to my ankle and am using crutches and have to stay off my leg for a few days and am waiting fo4r a call to go see an orthopedic surgeon. The superintendent of the building told me to call when I returned from the hospital as an incident report was being written when I left to go to the hospital. So I called the superintendent and she told me that if I want to write a statement I can and she will send in off to head office, however other than that that’s all that had to be done.

Asked on November 8, 2016 under Personal Injury, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the landlord was aware or reasonably (logically, that is) must have been aware that the elevator was not working properly, or if this was legitimately "news" to them.
A landlord's obligation is to take "reasonable" steps to protect tenants from harm from the building. A reasonable thing to do is to fix an elevator if you know of a problem, and it is unreasonable to not fix it--hence, if the landlord knew or should have known of the problem and didn't fix it, they may have been negligent and therefore liable (i.e. you'd have a valid lawsuit). Note by "should have known," we mean something like the following: that if the elevator was lurching, not stopping properly, etc. and there is an onsite super, we can assume that he/she would have encountered the problem just through using the elevator. 
But if the elevator had been working fine until this happened, there is no reason that the landlord should have done anything differently, and so the landord would not be at fault and not be liable.

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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