Q: I have a question about the "Open and Obvious Danger" law in Alabama. See details below. Is my complex liable?
I live in an apt complex & there are small drainage ditches across our front yard. I was walking in my front yard from my neighbor's apt to mine. (I was not walking in the ditch) I stopped to make sure I shut her storm door all the way and when I turned around the ground was uneven and it caused me to lose my balance and I started to fall in the ditch. I put my arms straight out to break my fall, but when I hit, my head went in the ditch and did like a whiplash movement. A few days later my neck became very sore and really hurt. I told the mgr I fell and hurt myself. She told me to walk on the side walk. I went to my dr for a checkup in Feb and told her. She ordered xrays and referred me to Orthopedic dr. He did MRI. My vertebrae in my neck are pressing on my spinal cord causing numbness and pain. He wants to do physical therapy and injections. If that doesn't work he is talking surgery. Can I get the owners to pay my medical bills? My copays are expensive. I'm on disability.
A: A landowner generally does not have a duty to warn of dangerous conditions that are open and obvious. In other words, if the dangerous condition is known, or should have been seen or observed by the injured party, the landowner is not responsible for injuries caused by the dangerous condition. The standard is based on what a reasonable person should have observed. The issue of whether a dangerous condition is open and obvious is typically a question that must be decided by a jury. In my opinion you may have a difficult time forcing the owners to pay for your medical bills. However, these type of cases rely heavily on all of the facts and I would need more information to give you a definitive answer.
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