I live in an apartment building in Leicester. I fell on the shared back porch and broke my right wrist. Medical expenses to date exceed $25K and I’ve lost wages at work. Doing everyday activities involving my wrist is difficult or impossible. Here’s what happened: one of the other tenants has a dog. He admitted to cleaning up after his dog’s mess on the shared back porch by hosing down the porch and forgot to put down salt afterward. Overnight temperatures dropped and the water froze. I didn’t know it was icy because there was a light dusting of snow covering it. I slipped and fell. Do I have a premises liabilty case against the landlord or personal injury case against the tenant?
Whether you have a premises liability case against the landlord is difficult to evaluate based upon the limited facts that you present. Ownership of the building by itself is not enough to establish the landlord’s liability. You would need to show that the landlord had some control of the porch area or that he/she was responsible for dealing with the ice and snow conditions, whatever the amount. As for your claim against the other tenant, that is a bit easier to evaluate because he created the slippery condition, albeit with help from the weather. Under the old snow and ice rules, you may not have been able to recover because a court may have determined that the slipperiness resulted from the natural accumulation of snow or ice, which was a bar to recovery. The rules have changed, however, so your claim against the tenant has a good chance of success, assuming that you can overcome the usual problems with slip and fall cases, such as your awareness of the danger, your use of reasonable care based on that awareness, and the foreseeability of the risk of freezing to the tenant or his/her knowledge of the slippery condition, although that is fairly foreseeable here in New England in certain parts of the year.
Leicester Personal Injury Attorneys at Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, PC represents clients in personal injury claims in Leicester and throughout Worcester County including the communities of Paxton, Worcester, Auburn, Spencer and North Brookfield.