It takes seconds for the injuries from a slip and fall accident to occur, yet the damages can be long lasting or permanent. Often, in landlord and tenant living arrangements, the responsibility for a slip and fall accident is not clear.
Rental properties are unique in the fact that the tenant is usually not the landowner. Therefore, the responsibility to clear ice and snow— and remove other hazards on the property—gets confusing.
Learn more about property injuries and if you can sue a landlord for your slip and fall injuries. Stewart & Stewart offers a free initial consultation to all new clients. You can meet with a premises liability lawyer to discuss the personal details of your case and whether someone else is liable for the injuries. Contact us today at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or visit GetStewart.com.
Who Is Responsible for Slip and Fall Accidents on Rental Property?
Slip and fall accidents may sound simple yet the process for determining fault and liability is not always crystal clear. Whenever an accident occurs on private property it is easy to determine who is responsible for the land.
However, rental properties are much more complicated because generally the person that occupies the property does not own the land. While it is the primary duty of the landowner or property manager to keep the area safe, tenants also share a portion of the burden.
In most situations, the tenant signs a lease with the property owner. The lease may contain details about snow removal and other responsibilities of the tenant while living on the premises. For the most part, landowners are responsible for making repairs and removing hazards from the property. However, some leases make it the responsibility of the tenant to remove snow from walkways or address other hazards.
Some may ask: “Can I sue my landlord if I slip and fall on rented property?”
You may be able to hold the landlord accountable for your slip and fall injuries if you can prove the property owner is liable. This is not always easy to demonstrate, yet a premises liability lawyer can fight for compensation on your behalf.
Property injuries and other personal injury claims help cover expenses associated with medical bills, treatment, lost time from work, and emotional damages related to the incident. Contact a premises liability lawyer for a free consultation.
Landlord Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
Sadly, slip and fall accidents are quite common in the United States. While most slip and fall claims take place at a business or restaurant, there are instances that involve a landlord and tenant.
In most living arrangements, the landlord and tenant agree to a lease before the move-in date. Signing and agreeing to a lease is important because it is a legal document that sets forth the expectations of both the landlord and tenant.
In general, the landlord is expected to take care of the property and remove or repair any safety hazards in a reasonable manner. However, some living arrangements may put the duty of removing snow or ice from the property on the tenant.
Nonetheless, you cannot expect to win any slip and fall claim without establishing negligence. When there is no negligence, there is no liability. Without liability, it is impossible to hold someone else accountable for your injuries.
Therefore, the first step in determining fault for a slip and fall accident is to find out if negligence played a role in the incident. For this reason, a tenant must prove that the landlord or property manager was negligent and that the negligence contributed to the property injuries.
How To Prove Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident is not justification for compensation without first proving that the landlord acted negligently. Therefore, you must establish the following in a personal injury lawsuit:
- The landlord caused (or failed to prevent) a slippery condition that contributed to an accident.
- The landlord knew or should reasonably have known that the property was in an unsafe condition.
The second part is important because simply slipping and falling on your landlord’s property does not automatically entitle you to a personal injury claim. Additionally, it does not demonstrate that the landlord was negligent without establishing that he or she knew or should have reasonably known about the unsafe condition.
The courts also consider where the slip and fall accident occurred. For example, a slip and fall accident as the result of leaking indoor pipes may get treated completely differently in a court of law compared to an outdoor incident.
In general, notifying your landlord of any problems on the property (indoor or outdoor) goes a long way. It not only informs the property owner that there is a safety hazard they need to take care of, but it helps protect you later if the landlord is adamant he or she was not aware of the issue.
The most common places for slip and fall injuries on rental properties are walkways (especially with snow or ice) and stairwells. You should take extra precaution when traveling through these areas and notify the property owner of any defective components or safety hazards.
Find a Premises Liability Lawyer
Can I sue my landlord for my injuries from a slip and fall accident?
Personal injury claims are not always easy to prove in cases that involve rental properties. Slip and fall accidents are highly specific which means a premises liability lawyer cannot give you an accurate course of action until he or she examines all the details of the case.
Stewart & Stewart is available for free consultations. Speak to our well respected and qualified premises liability law team at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or visit GetStewart.com.