I represented a young lady who slipped and fell in the lobby of her apartment complex. She was simply leaving her apartment on her way out for the day. However, a crowd of people – who were not tenants in her building – were all drinking inside the apartment complex. When she was walking toward the exit, she fell down the stairs from spills generated from non-tenants trespassing, drinking and loitering in the common hallway.
As a result of my client’s fall, she suffered multiple fractures in her right ankle and required an open reduction and internal fixation surgery. She required pins, screws, plates and hardware to be surgically inserted into her bones and secured with locking screws and pins.
My client’s landlord, as owner of the premises, was required to exercise reasonable care to guard against foreseeable dangers, maintain the property in a safe condition for tenants, and prevent non-tenants from trespassing and loitering.
The insurance company for the apartment complex argued that there was no way it could have known that there would be trespassers in the complex. The insurance company argued that since it did not know there were trespassers in the apartment, they did not have knowledge of any dangerous condition.
As a NJ Injury Lawyer who handles cases like this on a regular basis, I filed an OPRA request. An OPRA request is an “Open Public Records Act” request. I requested all incidents from that apartment complex for the previous year. My fishing expedition landed a whale: there were 55 trespassing incidents reported by police at that apartment that year. When I sent the 55 previous trespassing reports to the insurance company, they immediately settled my client’s injury claim before I even had to file a lawsuit.
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