Written on Jul 22, 2020 9:16:29 AM
Landlord vs Tenant: Who is Liable in Personal Injury Cases?
Personal injury cases can very easily become complicated, especially when questioning who is truly liable for the event in the first place. Whether it is a relationship based on renting or leasing, both the tenant and the landlord share the liability for that property. But more specifically, when it comes to relationships between the landlord and the tenant, sometimes the liability can become an important question when accidents happen.
So, who is truly liable in a personal injury case on a rental property?
Common Tenant Injuries
More Americans are renting homes and apartments than ever before in the last fifty years. With so many people renting, both landlords and tenants should be aware of the liability of tenant injuries. While every state has premises liability laws requiring rental properties to be safe environments, common conditions that result in tenant injuries include:
Potholes - or anywhere where the pavement is uneven - can cause tenants to trip and fall on asphalt or other hard surfaces. Landlords should maintain pavement to be rid of cracks or holes where tenants can severely injure themselves from stumbling, especially in the evening or night when it’s harder to see holes.
Apartments with multiple floors may have damaged staircases with loose handrails. If banisters or handrails are broken, or if outside steps are slippery due to rain or ice, tenants can easily slip and hurt themselves.
Rain, snow, and ice can easily turn otherwise safe environments into treacherous ones. When landlords do not take the proper precautions to remove snow and ice, tenants can easily slip and suffer severe head, wrist, back, and leg injuries.
Apartments with inadequate lighting - whether in common walkways or parking lots - can create safety hazards. Tenants can slip and fall in potholes or other obstacles due to dim light, and poor lightning can be especially dangerous in high-crime areas.
Loose roof or ceiling tiles can quickly become dangerous projectiles when they fall and potentially hit tenants and their guests. Loose light fixtures and deteriorating walls can all become safety hazards and result in face and head injuries.
When is the Landlord Liable?
A landlord is not automatically liable for injuries on their properties. It is only when a tenant’s injuries are proven to be the result of a landlord’s negligence that the landlord will be held liable for the renter’s injuries (or even the injuries of their guests).
A landlord can be proven negligent if they do not fulfill their duties of a landlord.
Duties of Landlord
The landlord’s duties exist in regards to the general structure. They are liable if injuries result from different variables, and it is up to the landlord to keep business as ethical and professional as possible.
- The landlord should check all units and systems regularly.
- The landlord should refrain from making careless or negligent repairs.
- The landlord should not violate any safety laws.
- The landlord should fix units and systems in a timely manner.
- The landlord should inform their tenants about system faults.
What Are Tenant’s Rights?
If a tenant is injured and believes it is the result of a negligent landlord, they have the right to pursue a personal injury case. Compensation from such a case would come from the landlord’s insurance company.
However, the insurance company will not merely pay up based on a tenant’s word; the tenant must prove the landlord was negligent. To do so, they must show:
- The landlord was aware of the safety hazard(s).
- The landlord failed to remedy the safety hazard(s).
- As a result, the landlord’s negligence was the direct cause of your injuries.
Still, tenants have duties they are responsible to perform as well as landlords.
Duties of Tenants
The tenant has responsibilities, including:
- Maintaining their living areas in a way that is safe.
- Understanding their end of the lease.
- Reporting faults in systems to their landlord.
- Taking precautions and utilizing common sense when handling electrical, water, and other housing units.
When to Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer?
While responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant should be outlined in detail in the terms of the lease, sometimes cases are not as black and white. Personal injury cases can be difficult to prove in landlord vs. tenant situations, so having an expert personal injury lawyer by your side can make all the difference.
Here at Lowman Law Firm, our combined expertise and personal experience can help you to win your case. We will do everything in our power to ensure that you are properly represented in your personal injury case, including helping you prepare and negotiate for the just amount of compensation.
For any and all of your questions regarding personal injury cases, call our experienced attorneys today for a free consultation.