I Don’t Know Why

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Q: I work at the plumbing-supply store.  In order to gain access to a shelf, I needed to use my employer’s straight, aluminum ladder.  After making sure that its rubber pads were flat on the ground, and that the ladder was stable and safe, I climbed to the top.  As I prepared to place my left foot on the shelf, the ladder slid out from under me.  I have no idea why.

From my employer, I collected workers’ compensation.  Now can I go after the owner of the building?  He is retired and lives in Florida.

A: Your attorney must see the lease.  If only your employer is responsible for maintaining the floor and performing all repairs, then suing the landlord does not look viable.  Even if the landlord is responsible, your attorney needs to get a better sense of why you fell.

In general, an out-of-possession landlord is not responsible for injuries occurring on its premises.  There are three exceptions.  One, the landlord has a duty imposed by statute.  Two, the landlord has a duty arising from a course of conduct.  Three, the landlord has a duty assumed by the lease.

An example of a lease that would be relatively favorable to you is one that requires the landlord to repair any damaged structural parts of the premises, and any equipment originally supplied by landlord, and gives it the right to enter upon the premises, for the purpose of making necessary repairs or alterations.

But even with a favorable lease, an accident victim who does not truly know why she fell brings to her attorney a particular challenge – to engage in accident reconstruction rather than mere speculation.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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