Do I have a case to sue?

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Do I have a case to sue?

Today 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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.


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