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When Multiple Parties Are Responsible for a Slip and Fall

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Sometimes there seem to be multiple people involved in a personal injury case. For example, a man leaves his apartment. The streetlight near his apartment is out, so there is not the necessary amount of light to guide his way. He takes a few more steps and he trips over a risen crack in the sidewalk. You take the case to your landlord and she tells you that the sidewalk is raised because of a tree root, and that is the city’s responsibility.

So in this case we have the injured man, the landlord, and the city. Who is responsible for this injury? Let’s take a look at what contributed to the man’s fall and determine who is responsible for what:

The Light

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We know that the light is out, but can the landlord be held responsible for it? There are many factors that play into this.

First, we would have to make sure that the landlord is responsible for maintaining the lights. Some rental properties include language in their leases that transfers responsibility for outdoor fixtures to the renter. For example, if the light was a porch light, it may be the responsibility of the renter to change the bulbs. Since this was a typical streetlight, it’s fairly safe to assume for the purpose of this example that the landlord was responsible for the light.

Next, you must be able to prove that the landlord was aware of the problem. If no one reported the broken light to the landlord, then there is a possibility that she will not be held responsible for what she didn’t know.

Finally, you must prove that the landlord was given a reasonable amount of time to fix the broken light. If it was only reported to her the morning before the accident, it would not necessarily be fair to hold her completely responsible. However, if she had known about the light for weeks and hadn’t fixed it, she would likely be found negligent.

The Sidewalk

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In most states, the public property that directly corresponds to a property will be considered the responsibility of that property owner. This would include the sidewalk. It can be considered the landlord’s responsibility to inspect and maintain the sidewalk in and around her properties.

However, it is also true that the city is responsible for regular checkups of the sidewalks in order to check for repairs, even if the property owner is responsible for paying for the actual repairs.

Therefore, the city could be held responsible if no notices were given to the landlord to fix the sidewalk. However, if a notice was given and the landlord neglected to cooperate, then she could be held responsible.

The Tree Roots

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The tree and its roots, though technically considered a public property, also falls under the same sector as the sidewalk. It is the landlord’s job to maintain the area. However, it is the city’s responsibility to regularly inspect the property.

The Responsibility of the Man

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Now let us not forget the man with the actual injury. In this case, both the city and the landlord are likely to fight against the man. They will likely seek some way to put the blame on him. The man is only to blame if the fall was directly related to his own inattention or unnatural circumstance, such as intoxication.

As you can see, this issue could get messy in court. Most cases have multiple people to point fingers at, and even more people pointing the fingers. It is important that you have a strong attorney fighting on your side.

If you are caught in a multiple party personal injury from a slip and fall, contact Hensley Legal Group today to be assured that you have an experienced professional fighting on your side. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free case review.