When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you are a tenant in a rental apartment or home and you are injured on the property, are there circumstances where the landlord can be found negligent and responsible for any injuries you or your guests sustain while at that property? And if you or someone you know has been injured, you may be asking “when should I hire a personal injury attorney?” at David & Philpot, P.L.
It is true that the landlord has a responsibility to keep their rental properties in generally good condition for their tenants. The landlord has a duty to meet the standard care as circumstances require. If they do not, and a tenant is injured as a result of that breach of duty, the landlord may be guilty of negligence.
What is standard of care?
This is legal terminology for the prudence, caution, and attentiveness someone needs to exercise under the circumstances. If the landlord fails to meet this standard and as a result their tenant is injured, the landlord is considered negligent and be responsible for any injuries sustained by the tenant.
What constitutes standard of care by a landlord?
A landlord is required to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. The courts will determine if the landlord acted in a reasonable manner by asking how a normal, reasonable landlord would respond given the same circumstances and then seeing if this landlord acted at least the equivalent level of care.
Were children injured?
If there are children involved, the landlord may be required to provide more than reasonable care. This is because younger children are not as apt to recognize dangerous situations, therefore landlords must provide a higher level of care.
No smoke alarms in home or unit
If your rental does not come with working smoke alarms and there is a fire where you are injured because of the lack of alarms, the landlord is negligent because they violated the law by not having working smoke alarms. This is called negligence per se. When a landlord is in violation of a law created to protect tenants, no additional proof is necessary to be guilty of negligence per se.
Is the landlord always responsible for injuries on their property?
The landlord is only responsible for accidents that occur on their property if the accident and injuries were foreseeable and existed because the landlord failed to exercise reasonable care.
If the accident or injury is caused by the recklessness conduct of the tenant, the landlord will likely not be held liable.
If the tenant is injured in a common area of a multi-unit complex as a result of a defective or missing handrail, if the landlord was aware of the issue and had not corrected the defect in a reasonable amount of time, they may be held liable for the injuries. If the handrail just became loose and the landlord had just found out or was unaware of the problem, it will be more difficult to prove they were negligent.
Foreseeable Criminal Acts
If the common areas, stairwells, and parking lots are not sufficiently lit and a tenant is assaulted, the landlord can be held liable for damages. In addition, if the tenant’s door does not have a deadbolt or the windows do not lock, if a criminal gains access through these means, the landlord can be held liable.