Injuries Caused by Landlord Negligence
As always, the details of the individual situation matter a great deal. As a general principle, in order for a landlord to be held responsible for your injury under the law, the cause of the injury must be something that the landlord, or his property manager, had a duty to take care of. If a tenant is injured walking on a shared stairway leading to a second story apartment when it collapses, then this would certainly be something that the landlord has a responsibility to take care of. If the tenant slips on a piece of bacon in her kitchen, then the landlord can’t be held responsible for that because he has no duty to keep your kitchen floor clean.
Many times the situation is not so clear as the example given above. An important question will always be who had control over the part of the property where the injury resulted, and did the landlord know about the situation. If the landlord didn’t know about the dangerous situation, then is it something he or she should have known about?
Think about the example of a bee hive in the attic. It is an infestation that the landlord should take action to resolve, but if the occupants living in the house know about the bee hive, and don’t tell the landlord, then it is much harder to assign responsibility to the landlord when someone suffers bee stings when the hive falls into the living room. For this reason,it is important to make your problems with the property known to the landlord when you discover them. Don’t assume that the landlord knows about plumbing under the bathroom sink that constantly leaks, or that it is your responsibility to deal with the situation. It is a much better idea to tell your landlord about the leak right when you notice it.
Many times tenants are injured because of something that neither they nor the landlord knew about. Like when an interior ceiling collapses. In these situation, the landlord will be held responsible, if the tenant takes the correct course of action!
If the accident results in physical injury, seek medical attention appropriate to the situation.
- Take pictures of what happened right away. Take good quality photos with a digital camera that has removable storage and back them up.
- Get witnesses to the event. If there are no witnesses, then make sure to invite someone to watch you taking your photographs.
- Make sure that you inform your landlord or property manager about the accident that caused the injury, but be careful to stick to the facts.
- Do not talk to any insurance agents, or give a recorded statement to any third party
- Contact a lawyer to discuss what happened and find out what your rights you have. Beware of attorneys that promise great results in their advertisements, but who won’t talk to you directly.
I am an attorney that would be happy to talk to you when you have suffered an injury due to your landlord’s negligence.
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If I cannot help you with your case, then I will let you know right away without wasting your time, and I may be able to point you in the right direction.