Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Lombardi Law Firm. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.

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  • Can I sue the convenience store if I was injured in their premises?

    Question Detail: I was riding my bike to the gas station and there was a hole that was uncovered and my front tire hit it and I fell over my hip and knee and elbow are pretty hurt and all they did was act like nothing happened at the gas station.

    Answer: Hire a lawyer that handles personal injury so he/she can evaluate the facts. Your description is too general for me to know the advice you need. I will also suggest you take photographs of the hole. Use a tape measure and photograph the measurements, length, width and the depth. Do the same with the bicycle and the bicycle tire. Preserve all physical evidence.

  • If I have a major medical issue without insurance and am willing to make small monthly payments, can they seize my house?

    It’s the sign of the economic times when people are asking this question. The quick answer is no, they can not seize your house; not even if you fail to make the payments. I wouldn’t think a hospital system would even try to take a patient’s home. Just don’t sign a lien giving the creditor, in this case the hospital, a right to do so. A lien is a written agreement giving the creditor, in this case a medical service provider, the right to be paid from the sale of your home. Chiropractors seem to use liens on lawsuit proceeds to secure payment of their bills; although in the past 5 years I’ve seen less of that. There are several ways you a lien can be established – the first is by legislative action by passing a law that gives someone or a corporate entity the right to a lien on certain proceeds. The best example I can think of is the law (Chapter 85.22) establishes a lien in favor of the insurance company that paid workers’ compensation benefits to a person injured in a car accident. So when you collect from the 3rd party you have to pay back the workers’ compensation carrier.

    A second method of establishing a lien is a voluntary act by written agreement. If you sign a lien document that gives the hospital a lien on your car to secure the costs of medical care, if you don’t pay the bill that would be volitional and probably an enforceable lien.

    I’m not sure I’d spend a lot of time worrying about this but if it keeps you awake at night sit down with a lawyer and pay to get an opinion. Good luck. 

  • Can I sue my landlord if my son was injured on his property?

    Question Detail: My 3 year old son was injured on my landlord's property. Due to a deteriorated front porch my son tripped over a loose board, fell and suffered 3 broken ribs and had cuts and bruises on his face and knees legs. I complained to the landlord prior and had code enforcers come inspect the house. He got a certified letter from them and now he is retaliating against me for calling inspectors trying to illegally kick me out. He cut the water off and put a lock on the basement so it can't be turned on. Then turned around and cut off my lights. I want to sue him for my son's medical bills which in total are $43,486.10 plus my food went bad. I spent $470 in grocery plus I want my rent paid back in full. I verbally to ld him I was going to sue him after my son's accident and asked him if we can settle out of court for $1500 so I can just move into a new place. He refuses to pay anything now I want to sue him for $5000 in small claims court. Do I have a case? He has no renters insurance also I don't think he is supposed to even be renting out rooming houses. How do I do it where can I find a lawyer willing to take my case and if we win they take they payment? I have no money upfront.

    Answer: InIowa you would have a case if the condition is considered to be a defect; meaning it is in violation of a code standard or is considered by a fact finder to be unreasonably dangerous. If you reported the landlord to the City Housing Commission and he/she retaliated that is a second violation under the State ofIowa's Housing Code (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act). With as much as you have in medical bills I'd strongly suggest you see an attorney who is familiar with the act. The landlord may have insurance that covers your family's damages. Call if we you would like to discuss.

  • Do I have a case against a hospital if I step on a pin the ER waiting room area?


    Question Detail: I took my friend to the ER for her own medical issue. While we were waiting in the ER waiting room I suddenly felt a sharp pain and discovered that I had been stabbed in my heel through my shoe by a common metal pin like those found in a dress shirt when it is folded up. The pin must have been lying on the floor. I pulled the pin out of my heel, notified the staff, and I was treated reasonably promptly by the ER staff and given a Tetanus shot. The incident was documented by the hospital security staff but they refused to give me a copy of the report, saying it was internal only. My insurance information wasn't taken and I haven't yet been billed by the hospital for the treatment of my puncture wound. I am concerned that the puncture wound could become infected. The pin was on the floor outside the bathroom so who knows what could be on it? Do I have a case against the hospital? If I get an infection then presumably I would be more significantly damaged. The fact that they didn't charge me does suggest that the staff felt that the hospital was responsible in some way for the injury.

    Answer: I'll start with the obvious - without damages there are no claims for personal injury. What-if's and maybes don't make a personal injury case. You must prove duty, breach of duty, damages and proximate cause. Without any one element and like a house of cards your case falls apart.

    Beyond damages what about duty. All hospitals are cleaned on a nightly and daily basis so how will you prove that pin was there for a sufficient length of time to make someone think the hospital cleaning staff was negligent? We need to think about what we are doing before suing for personal injury. Suing this hospital for this would not be a good idea. That's my opinion. I'd suggest you move on and wear more protective shoes.

  • What legal rights does an inmate have if the jail gives them incorrect medication over a period of time?

    Question Detail: Over the course of 30 days they switched the medication she was on from 40mg Prozac to 25mg Paxil. When she came home and began 40mg Prozac and had an episode. When she returned to jail after 30 days they have not given her any of her medications. We found out recently that they were aware of the mix up.

    Answer: I've been appointed by the Federal Courts inIowato represent inmates and I'm thoroughly convinced jurors don't do their job because the injured party is an inmate. So the lawyer's time commitment is a complete waste. Jails and prisons are a mean and nasty place to live; the staff is ill equipped to handle all the problems and unless they kill or permanently maimed or else falsely convicted you these cases are not economically feasible to pursue.

    False conviction cases I will handle but the rest are a complete waste of the lawyer’s resources because frankly no one seems to care. While I don’t agree with this attitude I still have to pay the bills so I choose not to get involved in many of these cases. And please don’t ask me if I care, because, although I do care, I’m not paid to care, I’m paid to win.

  • If my wife slipped on a wet floor and fell is she entitled to any compensation?

    Question Detail: My wife slipped and fell this morning while shopping, due to a wet slippery floor. When she fell she landed on her right knee, she was hurt and limping slightly. Is she entitled to any compensation from the store?

    Answer: In this case the property defect is a wet floor in a customer area without any warning and withtout the slipperiness being obvious. A slight injury is not a reason to sue anyone although I suspect the store's insurance company may contact you and offer a small settlement.

  • Who is liable for medical expenses of someone shot in a home? Someone was shot in one of my rental properties. The tenants say they know nothing about it. The father of the victim (who doesn't live on property) has an attorney and is seeking damages. He claims his son was enticed into the property by assailants.

    Let's assume the boy was enticed onto the property. I'm not sure I see how that matters if the property owner had nothing to do with the event. I would need to know the legal theory the victim's attorney is advancing to support the claim being made. Without that I or any other attorney would be guessing. 

  • Does the apartment complex have to pay me for my knee injury? I fell down cement steps at a apartment complex. I landed hard on both knees and hands on cement walk below. I had to be helped up. I fell on 10/18/11, but one knee is swollen but ok, the right knee is not. Does the apartment complex have to pay for me to see a doctor about the knee I fell on their cement steps?

    Ouch! Frankly the facts described don't really tell me anything about why you fell. Only that you fell and fell "down cement steps". We first have to know why you fell or what caused you to slip or trip and fall. Was there something wrong with the construction or maintenance of the stops that was not obvious and contributed to your falling? Do you know what the rise and run is of the staircase? Measure the depth and height of each step to see if they are uniform and then check with the city to see what the code provides for uniformity. Then look at the step to see if there is loose or missing concrete that caused your foot to misstep. Finally look at the surface and considering the conditions think about the slipperiness of the surface and whether sandpaper strips should have been added to the concrete step. Were the steps painted and if so was it a high gloss enamel paint that with a little moisture makes for a very slick step. Then check with other tenants to see if they too have fallen or slipped. These property cases are not a cakewalk.  

    Components and terminology


    The step is composed of the tread and riser.

    The part of the stairway that is stepped on. It is constructed to the same specifications (thickness) as any other flooring. The tread "depth" is measured from the outer edge of the step to the vertical "riser" between steps. The "width" is measured from one side to the other.
    The vertical portion between each tread on the stair. This may be missing for an "open" stair effect.
    An edge part of the tread that protrudes over the riser beneath. If it is present, this means that, measured horizontally, the total "run" length of the stairs is not simply the sum of the tread lengths, as the treads actually overlap each other slightly.
    Starting step or Bullnose 
    Where stairs are open on one or both sides, the first step above the lower floor may be wider than the other steps and rounded. The balusters typically form a semicircle around the circumference of the rounded portion and the handrail has a horizontal spiral called a "volute" that supports the top of the balusters. Besides the cosmetic appeal, starting steps allow the balusters to form a wider, more stable base for the end of the handrail. Handrails that simply end at a post at the foot of the stairs can be less sturdy, even with a thick post. A double bullnose can be used when both sides of the stairs are open.
    Stringer, Stringer board or sometimes just String 
    The structural member that supports the treads and risers. There are typically two stringers, one on either side of the stairs; though the treads may be supported many other ways. The stringers are sometimes notched so that the risers and treads fit into them. Stringers on open-sided stairs are often open themselves so that the treads are visible from the side. Such stringers are called "cut" stringers. Stringers on a closed side of the stairs are closed, with the support for the treads routed into the stringer.
    Winders are steps that are narrower on one side than the other. They are used to change the direction of the stairs without landings. A series of winders form a circular or spiral stairway. When three steps are used to turn a 90° corner, the middle step is called a kite winder as a kite-shaped quadrilateral.
    Trim (e.g. quarter-round or baseboard trim) is normally applied where walls meet floors and often underneath treads to hide the reveal where the tread and riser meet. Shoe moulding may be used between where the lower floor and the first riser meet. Trimming a starting step is a special challenge as the last riser above the lower floor is rounded. Flexible, plastic trim is available for this purpose, however wooden mouldings are still used and are either cut from a single piece of rounded wood, or bent with laminations Scotia is concave moulding that is underneath the nosing between the riser and the tread above it.

  • Who is liable if someone falls outside the building I run my business in? If I have a business, but rent the building my business is in, and someone falls outside, who is liable if they file suit? Me as the business owner, or the person that owns the building and property?

    The answer to that question can change depending on the lease agreement. It can be either the landlord or the tenant; who according to the lease assumed responsibility for the sidewalk? That is one place to start looking for the answer. The next step is to say, whose duty was it to maintain the building? Normally that falls on the landlord. 

  • Can I be accountable for a tenant injury before I own the property? I recently purchased a rental property and the previous tenant (under the old property owner) is suing me for an injury which occurred to him. The injury occurred before I was the owner. The plaintiffs lawyer claims that I can still be held accountable. Is this true?

    I don't think so; unless the purchase documents included a provision that you assumed the previous owner's liability. Who is the attorney making that claim? What county? Ask him for legal authority that supports his client's claim.