Can we make our apartment complex pay for property damage for not warning us about a sprinkler system test?

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Can we make our apartment complex pay for property damage for not warning us about a sprinkler system test?

My wife was walking to her car in front of our apartment complex. Without warning the sprinkler system, a maintenance man was working on next to her, turned on the system for a test and the sewage water got all over her. Her $300 purse and shoes got damaged and now we want them to pay.

Asked on June 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You could try suing. The issue would be whether or not what the maintenance man did was reasonable. For example, would a reasonable person have made some kind of warning or announcment of a test? If so, you may have a claim for compensation, on the grounds that the loss was caused by negligence (not being as careful as the average "reasonable" person would have been in that situation). If the answer is no--the typical reasonable person would not have warned or done something different--then you probably don't have a claim. Given the cost of a lawsuit versus what you could sue for (only for the cost or value of what was destroyed), if you're going to sue, it would most likely make sense to represent yourself in small claims court.


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