What can we do if my husband slipped an broke his ankle on a boat ramp while we were on out of state on vacation?

About 2 months ago, we were renting a vacation home from a homeowner in a neighborhood with an HOA. My husband slipped and fell on a boatramp maintained by the HOA. There was a sign at the top warning of slippery conditions but he was coming from the water and did not see the sign. The ramp was very slippery with broken and uneven concrete. When he slipped and slid, his foot caught on the broken concrete and broke his ankle. We took him to the emergency room and he was seen and X-rayed that day. We took pictures of his ankle and of the ramp. Is it too late to try to get medical bills covered? Should we contact the HOA first or the homeowner?

Asked on August 24, 2014 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It's not late to try, but you may not succeed--even if the concrete was broken, it is natural that a boat ramp would be slippery, and slipping on wet concrete on such a ramp is a natural and normal risk of using such a ramp. That means that in using it, your husband "assumed the risk" of slipping and injuring himself. Normally, assuming a risk precludes suing or taking legal action for the normal injuries associated with that risk. Now, because there was, as you write, also evidentally broken concrete, which would represent negligent maintenance, it may be that that assumption of the risk does not bar recovering compensation, but it is possible that this assumption might preclude compensation--or at least reduce it in proportion to the normal risk which your husband would be deemed to have assumed (as opposed to non-normal risk flowing out of broken concrete).

To seek compensation, contact the person or entity which is resonsible for maintaining the boat ramp. If you don't know whether it was the homeowner or the HOA, contact both. If no one (or their insurers) offers to voluntarily pay compensation (such as the medical bills), you could next try suing--but bear in mind that, as per the above, it's not a given that you would succeed.


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