The short answer is "Yes."
The longer answer is still yes, but I already know what you're going to say...
"He's my friend..."
"I can't sue him...what will his family think if I bring a lawsuit?"

You're right. You shouldn't sue him. Instead, you should live with your injury forever and not get compensation for someone else's wrongdoing.
"What was the 'wrongdoing'?
Turns out that the steps you walked up were not build to code. That means that whoever built those steps did not follow the regulations and guidelines required to build those steps. There are specific reasons why those codes exist for municipalities, towns and counties. They are designed to establish standards by which people who walk on those steps will be safe.

We may be so used to walking on steps that are correctly spaced and sized that we think nothing of it when faced with another series of steps to go up or down. The problem is when we go up or down steps that are not properly sized, we may lose our balance, lose our footing and misjudge the distance from one step to the next.
That can lead to disaster.

The goal when bringing a lawsuit for someone else's wrongdoing is to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering you have suffered. It is to repay your out of pocket medical expenses; it is designed to recoup your lost earnings while you are home recuperating and recovering from your injury.
Having a significant leg fracture is miserable. Especially if you need corrective surgery. In all likelihood, the homeowner or property owner will have insurance. When you bring a lawsuit against your friend, they will know that their insurance company will defend the case and hire attorneys to deal with the lawsuit. The insurance company does not roll over for anyone and they vigorously fight every case.

We must prove to them, that we are more likely right than wrong, that the steps were not constructed properly. Once we have done that we must then show the extent of your injuries and damages.

What happens if your friend fixed the stairs after you were injured? Does that automatically show that they knew the stairs were defective or broken? That is known as a 'subsequent remedial repair'. That means they fixed the problem after you were injured. We are not permitted to use that repair to show that there was wrongdoing or that the homeowner or property owner knew of a defective condition.
Want to learn more about your possible case?

Pick up the phone and call me. I answer legal questions every day and I'd be happy to answer yours. You can reach me at 516-487-8207 or by email at [email protected]. I welcome your call.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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Charles Pilcher 06/11/2012 12:55 AM
Gerry, Gerry, Must one file a LAWSUIT to obtain recompense? Isn't there a way for all parties to agree on a fair settlement without a LAWSUIT? Can one just file a CLAIM against the homeowner and his insurance company? I assume legal representation would still be necessary, but the word "lawsuit" is rather inflammatory.
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