Is Your Landlord Responsible for Your Safety? A Guide for Tenants
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If you’re a tenant in an apartment building or rental home, your lease guarantees a certain level of safety and security. Tenants should be free to live without worrying about the risk of an accident or injury.
Tenants who suffer an injury while living in the rental home or apartment may have legal grounds for a lawsuit against the landlord or apartment complex to pay for damages.
For example, if a landlord fails to fix loose or broken stairs and you have a bad fall, or if an apartment employee attacks or steals from you, the landlord could be found negligent.
What is Premises Liability?
To determine a landlord’s liability in case of an injury, the following questions must be considered:
- Why was the person on the property?
- How was the person using the property?
- Was the accident preventable?
- Did the owner make reasonable efforts to warn tenants and visitors of existing dangers?
Slip And Falls
Landlord negligence is a common cause of slip and fall accidents. Poor lighting, or obstacles near a stairway or hallway may lead to a slip and fall that is at least partially the property owner’s fault.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by injuries sustained during a fall. Injuries from a fall account for more than eight million annual visits to the emergency room.
Slip and fall accidents can cause broken bones, spinal trauma, and head injuries, requiring long-term healthcare. According to the National Safety Council, falls in the home commonly occur in or near:
- Areas with uneven surfaces
- Crowded areas
Some of the most common health conditions or injuries associated with falling include:
- Broken hips and pelvic bones, especially among the elderly
- Broken arms and legs
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries leading to permanent brain damage, seizures, memory loss, or impaired cognitive functioning
- Neck injuries
- Torn ligaments in the wrist, foot, or leg
How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Injury
A landlord’s insurance policy should cover injuries sustained from accidents. However, some cases may require the help of a personal injury attorney to ensure the victim receives the benefits and compensation they deserve.
The law details specific incidents for which an owner or landlord is responsible. To prove a landlord or property owner is liable for injuries, the victim must present evidence showing that either an employee or the landlord/building owner:
- Was aware of potential hazards but took no action
- Should have been aware of a potential hazard because an area posed an obvious risk, or
- Was directly responsible for the injury by creating a dangerous walking surface through spilling liquids, failing to maintain worn or damaged flooring, or other means
Proving landlord liability can be difficult. Ultimately, a personal injury lawyer will need to prove a victim’s claim of negligence to obtain benefits.