June 9, 2017
No one wants to feel unsafe in their own home. However, this is the case for many people who fall victim to landlord negligence. There are many slip and fall dangers in an apartment that could injure a tenant if not properly cared for by the landlord. The next step after one of these injuries is to recognize who is liable for your personal injury and whether or not it was the result of landlord negligence.
Slip and Fall Inside of Your Rental
There are many aspects of an apartment or rental home that can pose possible risks of a slip and fall injury if not properly cared for. The general questions to ask when placing blame is: Who knew of the dangerous condition? And who placed the object in the rented space?
Let’s say that you had a slip and fall accident because of a plumbing issue that led to a leak in your apartment. If you knew of the leak, and did not alert a landlord about the issue, then it would be both hard and unfair to hold the landlord responsible for the personal injury when he was not given the opportunity to fix the issue in a reasonable manner. It is your responsibility as the tenant to alert the landlord of any potentially dangerous conditions in the apartment.
However, once you alert the landlord of the unsafe condition, you place the ball in his court. If you report the leak to a landlord and he fails to fix the issue in a reasonable manner, he can be held responsible under premises liability.
The exception to this rule comes into play in the case of severe circumstances. For example, if it is common knowledge that the apartment complex has poor plumbing, and this leads to a leak down the road that causes you to slip and fall, then even without knowledge of the leak specifically, the landlord could be held responsible for it. This is also a premises liability, as you could argue that the landlord neglected to fix a larger plumbing issue that led to your personal injury.
Who Placed the Object in the Rented Space?
Many times a personal injury can be the result result of an actual object rather than a leak. Some examples could be poorly hung shelving, bad wiring, or a lifting of a carpet. In order to prove a landlord negligent for a personal injury caused by an actual object in the rented house or apartment, it must be proven that the object was not moveable and was not placed in the rented space by the tenant.
Let’s take the case of flooring. If the carpet was placed before the tenant moved in, the landlord could be held responsible if the carpet pulls up and someone slips and falls as a result. However, if the tenant places a rug in a room, and someone slips and falls as a result of the rug, then the tenant can be held responsible for the injury.
Typically, if the object is considered a “moveable object” such as furniture, rugs, pictures, or anything that was not in the apartment before the tenant moved in, the tenant will be held responsible. However, if the injury is caused by an object that is considered “immoveable,” which could include appliances, built-in shelving, or flooring, the landlord can be held responsible.
Slip and Fall Outside of Your Rental
There is no guarantee that a personal injury on the property of your rented space will occur inside of the space itself. However, the landlord is typically responsible for maintaining the rest of the rented property, not only the apartments alone. Many times the responsibilities of the renter and the landlord in terms of property outside of the apartment or rented home will be outlined in the lease agreement.
One common injury seen around rented spaces in Indiana is a slip and fall injury due to snow. These accidents raise big questions. Obviously, neither the tenant nor the landlord can be held responsible for the fact that it snowed. Instead, the question would be, “Who is responsible for shoveling the snow?” As mentioned, the answer to this question is typically found in the lease. Part of your agreement may be that you are responsible to shovel any snow and take care of any ice that is on the property because you are renting the house. Be sure to read the lease closely to know of your responsibilities in these instances.
How to Prove Negligence
If your personal injury resulted from landlord negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. If this is the case, then you should be sure to document your incident through both written statements and pictures. Be sure to write out the entire scene of your injury while it is still fresh on your mind. The most important part of the documenting process is to get pictures. A picture is truly worth a thousand words in these cases. Take pictures of the clothes you were wearing, the object or leak that caused the accident, and any bruises or physical injuries evident on your body because of the accident itself.
If you have been injured due to landlord negligence, call Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation or contact us online.