Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: A neighbor fell after drinking and broke his leg. Now he’s suing the building. Have you experienced anything like this?

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Question:

My neighbor, a lovely gentleman, spends his days at the bar around the corner. Usually, a kind bartender brings him home and all is well. Last week, however, he fell in front of our apartment building and broke his leg. The doorman called an ambulance and took him to the hospital. Now, the man’s brother is suing the building, saying that the railing on the steps was faulty. This is all on video but I’m wondering if we’ll be asked for more documentation? Signed, Left High and Dry

Answer:

Dear Dry,

My guess it that you'll be told to call your insurance company and report the accident. In cases like this, the hospital may be asked for a report verifying that the man was inebriated, and your doorman may be asked to document everything that happened. The bartender may need to give a statement as well. The bad news is that anyone can sue anybody for anything. It doesn’t sound as if the man has a case but the insurance company may just settle anyway, which can end up costing the building.

My building has its own lovable sot and we got in touch with a relative to let her know that the person is drinking. It didn’t stop the drinking but we are now on record as being aware of the issue and having tried to help. We are hoping to cut down on the amount of times she stumbles into the lobby singing loudly and causing a mild disturbance. We are concerned that she may fall and hurt herself and/or someone else. If someone drinks quietly in their own apartment, that’s their business. But, if they are stumbling around outside they could be dangerous to themselves and others.   

Of course, if that railing is in any way not functional, it should be fixed. And have your super look carefully at any rugs, moldings, or stairs that could cause a fall whether or not one is elderly or smashed.  

It is always better to avoid an accident before it happens—drinking or no drinking.

Ms. Demeanor


Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.