We represented a woman who fell down a set of wooden stairs. The stairs had three risers and abutted the single-wide mobile home she rented.
The stairs were slippery. The woman notified her landlord. The landlord failed to take action.
Inevitably the woman slipped, fell and broke her finger. We filed suit.
Property holders have a playbook. There are four or five defenses we see in every case. They’re often introduced in twos and threes.
In this case the property owner defended on the basis that the woman knew about the slippery condition and should have avoided it. After all, our client had written about it in a letter to the landlord.
This was right out of the playbook. Blame the victim for a defect or hazard on the property that the owner should have fixed.
While this kind of thinking might appeal to insurance adjusters and fans of Sarah Palin, the law does not shift responsibility onto the victim. We were able to settle the case, even though the woman “only” suffered a broken finger, for $100,000.