The laws binding renters and landlords in agreements are not constant across the states. However, in all of them, both parties do have to uphold certain responsibilities and roles, ignoring which would be construed as negligence. Usually, these duties are defined by the rental or lease agreements of the apartment complexes, thus it is advisable to read all the terms and conditions before signing up. Is An Apartment Complex Liable For Injuries?
While the laws will vary based on which state you live in (seek counsel from legal professionals near you for more information), there are certain generalizations which this article will cover. The landlord is required, by the law, to provide a safe and livable environment to the tenants (free of dangerous conditions), reflective of the rent that they’re paying to stay in that place.
If you feel that your rights, as a tenant, were violated somehow due to negligence or indifference on part of the landlord, you should not wait to explore your premises liability laws and pursue swift action with the help of dedicated premises liability attorneys.
The article will cover both perspectives to give you a clearer picture.
You might have already heard of insurance policies covering property damages resulting from natural calamities such as floods, fire, and earthquakes. Similarly, some insurance policies cover tenant injury damages, allowing landlords to pay up if they are faced with a valid claim from a tenant.
The comprehensive general liability insurance policies are not the cheapest of the lot you’ll come across but they are needed. Landlords owning multiple properties are bound to run into such issues. Any damages incurred upon a renter due to a structural flaw of the property or lack of adequate maintenance will be covered by these policies.
Moreover, having this coverage will also allow the landlords to set up legal defense in case of a lawsuit.
An ideal policy should cover the cost of your property and offer terms favorable to you. The policy must also address some of the most common lawsuit subjects in tenant-landlord law, and these are personal injury cases, slander, invasion of privacy, or evictions.
The property owner is responsible to ensure that all goes well and smoothly for the tenants. Complex owners have a couple of legal obligations in their contracts with tenants. These include the proper maintenance and timely checking of the common areas to ensure that property damage does not become bothersome or unsafe.
If there are any hidden safety hazards or dangerous conditions in the apartment units that the tenant must know of, then the landlord is legally obliged to share the information with the tenants. This information usually affects the decision of tenants to settle in a space and the rent rate, prompting many landlords to keep their lips sealed about such matters – this is a breach of their legal responsibilities and hence subject to legal scrutiny and action.
Ensuring the safety of the dwelling areas leased to someone is also a major legal duty on part of the landlord, and this can be insured via regular inspections and taking notice of minor factors before they become any bigger a problem.
In the legal dictionary, the term negligence refers to the deliberate or unintentional breach of one’s duties or associated safe practices that caused someone else any form of physical, emotional, or financial harm. If the landlord was indeed negligent about one or more of the aforementioned legal duties, then any damage that resulted directly due to this breach of legal responsibilities will be held against the said landlord.
Of course, you’ll have to draw a direct correlation between an injury and negligence.
Let’s say that you took a nasty fall from a stairwell that had a couple of weak or broken steps that were supposed to be in pristine order (such falls may result in complex injuries). Now, this injury ties in perfectly with the landlord’s negligence towards ensuring safety in the common area, making it a legal violation.
However, let’s say that you knew about the stairs and thus used another passage but got injured due to slip and fall, then the correlation will not apply.
Discuss your specific case with an experienced premises liability lawyer before proceeding with settlements and legal action in this regard.
As mentioned earlier, the property owner will not be held liable in all the cases. Your injury must be tied in with the negligence of the landlord, then and only then will your case stand a chance. You will first have to prove that the landlord had a duty or responsibility regarding the safety of the common area.
This could be anything related to your injury, for instance, in the aforementioned case, it would be the unsafe staircase. We know that fixing this issue was neither unnecessarily expensive nor laborious – the staircase would’ve become perfect to use in just an hour, perhaps even less.
Failing to do so, the defendant put you in a vulnerable position with a safety hazard, knowing all too well that the chance of a substantial injury was quite probable. The injuries and other damages you sustained (more severe for elderly tenants who can become accident victims) were a direct result of this negligence and thus demanding monetary compensation.
Similar problems can arise due to a heap of other safety issues in rental properties like inadequate lighting and water leaks can create a new accident scene due to the negligence of landlord and can result in severe head injuries, neck injuries, and much more, and thus can become the foundation for claims for injuries.
In severe cases, wrongful deaths are also possible, and this is more likely to happen to elderly residents, thus inviting wrongful death claims to the landlord or management company.
Apartment owners can mitigate the damage by at least warning the tenants of such danger thus averting disaster but if this does not happen either then the negligent landlords will be on thin ice, to say the least.
It could all be avoided by following simple safety regulations which every responsible landlord would do without question.
If you were wronged, don't delay your premises liability claim because the statute of limitations is active in cases involving apartment buildings.
In the case of all types of accidents that fall right on the mark with all of the aforementioned conditions where unsafe conditions led to disaster, then the tenants have the right to sue. Since such an accident can cause both economic and non-economic damages, the plaintiff will be able to seek compensation for both.
Usually, the damages recovered from such claims include:
·Medical expenses and psychiatric therapy (if one was needed, i.e. due to severe injuries)
· Any lost wages or long-term loss of potential to earn
· Emotional or psychological pain
·Physical agony resulting due to the injury
·Property damage, i.e. your laptop or phone may have fallen out of your hand
You will have to keep track of your losses (as documented evidence) to be able to file a personal injury claim effectively, don’t expect the insurance company to take your word for it.
Usually, the apartment complex owners exempt from blame if the injuries incurred upon a tenant happened inside the rental unit. As mentioned earlier, private property owners and corporate landlords are only legally bound to ensure a safe environment for tenants in the common areas, warn of any hidden dangers, and maintain a safe dwelling for leased sections.
However, there is an exception to this rule.
Perhaps the rental unit had had a problem in the past and the landlord cheaped out with the repairs and this inadequate repair job put you in the current situation.
In such a case, you can hold the landlord liable for the damages and may even file a personal injury lawsuit if need be.
Accidents in the apartment complexes are not as rare as you’d think. While traffic accidents and work-based injuries are comparatively more prevalent, the problem with apartment injuries is that you almost never see them coming because home is a place that the mind generally associates with safety.
Going through such an event will be hard on you but you need to gather your will and move ahead.
Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims are here to assist personal injury victims like you with their liability claim and to help you regain your financial stability as the first step to reintroducing normalcy in your life after such a tragedy.
There are no upfront fees, so, feel free to call us!