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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default Falling Due to a Loose Step in Apartment Complex Common Area

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: SC

    Over the past three days, my apartment manager has had contractors on the premises replacing staircase steps in the building my third floor apartment is in. When leaving to walk my dog last night, one of the steps completely detached from the staircase when I stepped on it, causing me to fall down the stairs. Luckily, I fell backwards instead of forward, as I was more than halfway up the staircase, and I instinctively threw my right hand back to catch myself (my left was holding the dog leash). I caught one of the stairs behind me, but when the rest of me hit the steps, I slid down several of them on my butt. This bent the arm I caught myself backwards at a pretty severe angle. I felt a strong tug and a sort of 'pop' in my shoulder.. saw the doc today, and he's saying it's most likely a torn rotator cuff and/or damaged AC joint, and has scheduled an MRI for next week. Can't even scratch my head with my right hand.

    Right now, I'm looking at these unexpected medical bills, as well as some missed work (best case, a few days.. worst case, several weeks) as my job requires I be able to lift and carry 50lbs and move 75lbs. Per the doc, I'm not supposed to lift more than 10 lbs w/my right arm now, and no overhead lifting whatsoever (I do a good bit of work on ladders).

    I reported the step and my fall to the apt manager, and an incident report is being filed w/their insurance company. I'm not sure how far the apartment complex's liability goes though.. these were brand new steps, so there's no reason one should've been that loose, but they were just installed the day before. Seems to me that's negligence to a degree, as they should've been inspected more thoroughly after installation by the contractor AND the apartment complex maintenance mgr.. but I may be biased as I'm the one who fell down them. I did take the time to take several photos of the loose stair, as well as a short video of how it detaches when stepped on.

    I guess my question is this: is there enough here to file a claim? I'm not fishing for a payday here, but I am looking at both medical expenses AND loss of income because of this faulty workmanship.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,274

    Default Re: Loose Step in Apartment Complex Common Area

    Yes, you definitely have a claim. You were not the one who was negligent. You did not cause your own damages. Do not be too quick in accepting a settlement. Make sure what your damages are going to be before you are completely healed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,213

    Default Re: Loose Step in Apartment Complex Common Area

    Find out if the contractor has a certificate of insurance issued to the building for the work they preformed. You may have to file a claim with the contractor's insurance company.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,867

    Default Re: Loose Step in Apartment Complex Common Area

    Agree. It's more likely that the installer was negligent, not the building owner.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Loose Step in Apartment Complex Common Area

    Thanks much for the advice, y'all. I did receive a call from the complex's insurance rep, & it sounds like they're forwarding everything to the contractor's insurance company. I was thinking about it yesterday, and started wondering why I didn't grab the handrail.. when I came up the stairs yesterday evening, I realized why. There's no handrail on that particular stretch of stairs. There are plenty of vertical 2x2's going up to the 2nd floor, but no actual handrail to speak of.

    Turns out I was correct about missed work.. I'm officially off the schedule until I'm cleared by a doctor. They were able to move my MRI up to yesterday; it showed two separate rotator cuff tears in my right shoulder, so I'm thinking it might be a while before I'm able to go back to work.

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