Do I have grounds to sue?

I have lived in a rental home in Indianapolis, Indiana for 4 years now. We were told upon moving in that the hardwood floors were made of poplar and were an excellent grade of flooring. After 2 years of living here my left foot became incredibly painful and I couldn’t walk on it. Over time with X-ray and a MRI I find out that I have a broken bone, tendonitis and a shredded tendon. After being in a walking boot with no success, I ended up having surgery. The whole ordeal with all the recovery ended up being over a year while I was not able to work or contribute to my family. Now in the last couple weeks my right foot has started to exhibit the same beginning signs of the identical symptoms of my left foot. We had spoken to our landlords about fixing a few items around the house and they sent out the gentleman who works for them on all their buildings to access what was needed to be done around the home. In discussing the problems we have had with the floor with him, including parts of the floor falling through to the cellar, gaps between the boards becoming so wide with pieces of wood cracking off and places in the floor feeling like it’s starting to give way. He informs us that the flooring is just a very cheap sub flooring made with wood something similar to pine and wasn’t made for people to be walking and living on. That this is supposed to be the floor under hardwood or carpet. We were extremely upset to find out all this pain and misery I have suffered is all because of cheap flooring that was never disclosed to us. We mentioned to the landlords that we know about the flooring and all my injuries being due to the door. They said nothing to us and haven’t said anything since. They haven’t asked about my new injuries or what the doctor has said. We are looking for a new home to rent and I’m going back to seeing an orthopedic dr. Is there anything that can be done? Should they have disclosed to us about the floor?

Asked on October 12, 2018 under Personal Injury, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You *may* have grounds to sue. It depends on whether you would be able to show in court, by expert testimony both 1) that the floor is dangerous or unhealthy to walk on--not merely that is is poor quality but that it can be medically or scientifically proven to cause injuries of the type you suffered; and related to that, 2) that it did in fact cause the injuries you have incurred. Proving this would require in-court testimony from the relevant medical expert/doctor--probably a podiatrist or possibly an orthopedist--that based on his education, etc., the type of floor could and did cause the injury you suffered.
So the first thing to do is to ask (if you have not already) your orthopedist about whether he believes that the injury was caused by this floor and that you would not have suffered it had the floor been the promised hardwood. If doctors agree that this floor caused your injury, you may have a viable lawsuit and it would be worth to consult with a personal injury attorney to explose the option of suing.

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